300 short stories: story 267

story: “What the World Will Look Like When All the Water Leaves Us”

author: Laura van den Berg

year: 2010

where: Reed College

note: I have been time-sharing under a rock; this is my first read by the author, though I’ve known her existence for a long time now. I was fortunate to hear her read last night at Tin House.

a line:  “Madagascar was not the first expedition on which I had accompanied my mother.”

theme(s): Mothers and daughters, adventure, separation, loss, survival, aging


300 short stories: story 261

story: “The Girl Who Did Not Know Fear”

author: Kelly Link

year: 2019

where: California Zephyr Train

note: From the last issue of Tin House

a line: “They don’t have sex shops in Quebec? After that, Martine went through this whole phrase.”

theme(s): Mothers and Daughters, Queer relationships, travel, fear

300 short stories: story 256

story: “Our Mothers Before Them”

author: Jenny Zhang, who I stumbled upon at Shakespeare & Company last summer in Paris

year: 2017

where: Abu Dhabi

note: From the NYer, “Sour Heart is a feminist bildungsroman—the narrators act upon their world just as much as the world acts upon them—and it depicts, from start to finish, a collective coming of age.”

&: This is definitely a long short story, a very good one.

a line: “My mother got up and drew the microphone to her lips and spoke into it, breathy and slow. ‘YES. It. Was. A. Good. Thing. In. The. End.”

theme(s): Mothers and daughters; immigration; siblings; manic-depression

300 short stories: story 247

story: “Fire Horse”

author: Karen Shepard

year: 2017

where: Home, in bed

note: I love this story, though I hesitate to call it one story. It feels like two stories about the same characters. Margaret Atwood has two stories like that in Bluebeard’s Egg, but she chose to split them into two titles and group them beside each other.

a line: “Weeks before we left New York, my grandmother had told me over the phone from her apartment in Paris that it was only a matter of time before my mother would lose interest in me, now that I was grown up.”

theme(s): Families, siblings, mothers and daughters, heritage, love

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