300 short stories:: story 237

story: “Whose Heart I Long to Stop with the Click of a Revolver”

author: River Solomon

year: 2018

where: Al Reem Island

note: Included in Best American Short Stories 2018 

a line: “I want to tell her–know this: The world plays out as games of power, who has it, who doesn’t.”

theme(s): Mothers and daughters, transgender, intergenerational trauma, power


300 short stories:: story 236

story: “The Long-Distance Runner”

author: Grace Paley

year: 1974

where: The Louvre Abu Dhabi & home

note: In this story, Paley reverses traditional black-white female race relations. It is a great story to read in conversation with Stephanie E. Jones-Rogers’ non-fiction book They Were Here Property.

a line: “You in my house…. You do as I say. For two cents, I throw you out.”

theme(s): white flight; social justice; segregation;

300 short stories:: story 235

story: “The Females Are Not Coming Back”

author: Rachel Heng

year: 2016

where: casa dolce casa

note: Anthropomorphism!

a line: “You may have heard that we are a monogamous species. It is probably one of the reasons for all the plush toys and animated films, along with the fact that we cannot y. You seem to see yourselves in us, though why you would want to, I cannot understand. We do not see ourselves in you.”

theme(s): Men and Women, Politics, Rumors, Sacrifice


300 short stories:: story 234

story: “Aquacero”

author: Patricia Engel

year: 2019

where: Dubai at Big Gate’s, then at home

note: This story was selected for the 2019 O. Henry Prize collection (first appeared in the Kenyon Review).

a line: “’Survival requires different things of different people.’ I don’t know where in me this came from. It was something I hadn’t even begun to understand for myself.”

theme(s): survival; abduction; abuse; disappearing

300 short stories:: story 233

story: “Confirmation”

author: Alina Grabowski

year: 2018

where: Mio Ufficio

note: The writer’s first publication. 1st Person Plural.

a line: “Whenever Lucy acolytes we sit in the front row, pulling faces and making the sign language word for fine: one palm held to the chest, thumb touching breastbone before the hand hinges forward. This is the only word we remember from the brief lesson we received during diversity day last year, and it has become our secret distress signal, from I think I just got my period to save me from this boy to I think I’m about to cry. Fine, fine, fine.”

theme(s): Assault, Disappearance, Small Town, Girlhood, Faith