Questions tagged [short-stories]

Questions about stories with a fully developed plot, themes, and characters, but significantly shorter and less detailed than a novel.

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What is the name of German-language horror or crime pulp novel series from late 80s/early 90s?

Back in the very early 90s, my father worked in Germany. The previous tenant in his apartment left some 80s/early-90s 7" vinyls, floppy discs and some horror/crime stich-bound short novels. ...
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6 votes
2 answers
1k views

Confusing paragraph from the story 'Evans tries an O-level' by Colin Dexter

"Evans the Break" as the prison officers called him. Thrice he'd excaped from prison, and but for the recent wave of unrest in the maximum security establishments up north, he wouldn't now ...
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2 votes
2 answers
136 views

How is "They seem to have a lot of parsons there, don’t they?” a joke?

This is from the story "Evans Tries An O-Level" by Colin Dexter", page 2, last paragraph. How is it a joke? "They seem to have a lot of parsons there, don’t they?” The two men ...
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1 vote
1 answer
85 views

What does this paragraph from "Should Wizard Hit Mommy?" By John Updike mean? [duplicate]

In class we're doing "Should Wizard Hit Mommy?" by John Updike. A part of the last paragraph is a little bit unclear to me: “The poor kid,” he answered, and with utter weariness watched his ...
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  • 11
7 votes
1 answer
108 views

Short story about chess

In the book The Complete Chess Addict by Mike Fox and Richard James, the following passage appears on page 156. Alekhine, near the end of his life, lonely and sick, but still world champion, told a ...
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1 vote
1 answer
81 views

When in "The Dresden Files" does "Little Things" chronologically take place?

"Little Things" has been released in Butcher's Dresden anthology Heroic Hearts. When does it take place?
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1 vote
0 answers
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Satire of old lady laying flowers at the tomb of the unknown soldier, Paris - what is this french short story?

In a german textbook in high school we had a short story the name and author of which I am looking for. I think the story was written between WWI and WWII or right after WWII. It is about an old lady ...
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8 votes
0 answers
55 views

Looking for a collection of British medical short stories circa 1950's

Circa 1977 I read a collection of short stories, all with a medical theme and all told from a British doctor’s point of view (this was in a British library). I have often remembered it, but have never ...
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3 votes
0 answers
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Is the phrase "memory therapy", used in Rain of Days, to encompass a broad range of practices?

In Rain of Days by Ray Nayler, the story describes memory therapy sessions in a future with doctors providing care through avatars. In an opening scene the doctor explains the basis of the simulation ...
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  • 131
1 vote
0 answers
27 views

Killer abducts woman (witness to a killing?). Her attempt to escape from the hotel room is foiled by a door wedge. Ambiguous ending

This may have been a short story in an Alfred Hitchcock story collection, as I read a lot of those as a child. It would have been read prior to 2000, after 1988 or so, since that's when I started ...
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4 votes
1 answer
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Why is Happy Buddha playing the "Titanic" theme in "How to Be Chinese"?

This is some description of the restaurant Happy Buddha from the short story "How to Be Chinese". Bolding is mine. Look around to see what it’s like in a real Chinese restaurant. The ...
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8 votes
1 answer
1k views

What is "taughtly aristocratic"?

I was just introduced to the sci-fi short story "The Jackson Killer", thanks to this ID answer on another site. It can be read freely online at the Internet Archive. One of the paragraphs ...
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2 votes
1 answer
52 views

What did Virginia Woolf mean by "walked on the past the flower–bed" in Kew Gardens?

From Virginia Woolf's short story "Kew Gardens": They walked on the past the flower-bed, now walking four abreast, and soon diminished in size among the trees and looked half transparent as ...
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3 votes
1 answer
16 views

Why would the young scholar who was obsessed with Maimonides become an unbeliever in Singer's "The Primper"?

At the end of Isaac Bashevis Singer's short story "The Primper", there's a small anecdote about a young man who studied the Rambam / Maimonides until he became an unbeliever: In Rovna there ...
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  • 19.1k
2 votes
0 answers
18 views

Why does Sylvia's kiss cause swelling in Isaac Bashevis Singer's "Schloimele"?

In Isaac Bashevis Singer's "Schloimele", the narrator receives a kiss from Sylvia and the complains that it's sore: 'But the evening's only just begun!' Sylvia protested as her crimson ...
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  • 19.1k
3 votes
0 answers
29 views

Is Schloimele gay-coded in Singer's "Schloimele"?

Schloimele, in Isaac Bashevis Singer's short story of the same name, is described as having feminine qualities when he's first introduced: The door opened and a pink-cheeked young man with cherry-...
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  • 19.1k
1 vote
0 answers
15 views

What's the significance of Schloimele looking unrecognizable at the end of Isaac Bashevis Singer's "Schloimele"?

At the end of "Schloimele" by Isaac Bashevis Singer, the titular character is described as being almost unrecognizable at the end of the story: He wore a straw hat, a pink shirt, and a bow ...
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  • 19.1k
3 votes
1 answer
54 views

What does the name "Hodel" mean?

In Isaac Bashevis Singer's short story "The Primper", Adele's real name is "Hodel": Her two sisters and three brothers married in due time, but she, Adele - her real name was ...
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  • 19.1k
3 votes
0 answers
46 views

Looking for a short story about a man who made mouse traps

Many years ago I heard on the radio a story about a man who lived in a village where there was a rat infestation. He decides to make a rat trap and it is so good his friends ask for one. Then the ...
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2 votes
0 answers
17 views

What does Oyzer-Dovidl's dream about Nechele mean in Singer's "The Riddle"?

In Isaac Bashevis Singer's short story "The Riddle", Oyzer-Dovidl remembers a dream where his wife, Nechele, acted like a young boy: He was constantly remembering adventures from stories ...
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8 votes
1 answer
947 views

Looking for a short story about a painter who is visited by a critic from the future

Here's what I remember: The protagonist has a friend who is an artist. A man (art critic? art historian? maybe even sociologist?) comes from the future all gushing about how this friend's art is the ...
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4 votes
1 answer
61 views

What does "red haze of agony" mean in "Terrified" by C. B. Gilford?

I’m reading a short story, “Terrified” by C. B. Gilford. This story is about Santin, a seller; he got an accident with a car on the opposite side of road. The occupants of that car, a young man and ...
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3 votes
1 answer
53 views

What's the importance of "cemetery grass" hair in Singer's "The Primper"?

In Isaac Bashevis Singer's short story "The Primper", black-and-gray hair is apparently referred to as "cemetery grass": In her youth Adele was far from ugly, though she was ...
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  • 19.1k
2 votes
0 answers
20 views

What's happening at the end of "Pigeons" by Isaac Bashevis Singer?

The final paragraph of Isaac Bashevis Singer's short story "Pigeons" goes like this: The following morning broke autumn-like and drab. The skies hung low and rusty. The smoke of the ...
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  • 19.1k
3 votes
0 answers
21 views

What do the "Evil Spirits" have to do with a house becoming leprous?

In Isaac Bashevis Singer's short story "Stories From Behind the Stove", one character associates the "Evil Ones" with being capable of anything, giving a leprous house as an ...
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  • 19.1k
2 votes
2 answers
76 views

Why is Professor Eibeschutz ashamed of the "religious implications" of the phrase "Thank God"?

In Isaac Bashevis Singer's short story "Pigeons", Professor Eibeschutz says that he's ashamed of the religious implications of the phrase "Thank God": Professor Eibeschutz ...
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  • 19.1k
2 votes
1 answer
27 views

Why is Dr Beeber afraid of being forgiven in Isaac Bashevis Singer's "Dr Beeber"?

At the end of Isaac Bashevis Singer's short story "Dr Beeber", the titular character says this: 'I believe in all superstitions.' 'You're right. Rationalism is the worst disease of the ...
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3 votes
0 answers
44 views

Why is "The Heritage of the Deer" specifically mentioned here in Isaac Bashevis Singer's "Guests on a Winter Night"?

In Isaac Bashevis Singer's short story "Guests on a Winter Night", the aunt of our main character is telling him about his great-grandparents: She said to me, "Your great-grandfather, ...
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  • 19.1k
4 votes
1 answer
55 views

What does "emancipated" mean in this context in Isaac Bashevis Singer's "Guests on a Winter Night"?

In Isaac Bashevis Singer's short story "Guests on a Winter Night", there's one part where he describes the folks inside a coffee shop as "emancipated": It was even more ...
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  • 19.1k
2 votes
0 answers
35 views

Short story where a traditional hard-boiled detective who puts himself forward as the last of a dying breed kills the wrong person

This is one of those things that popped into my head today and won't exit it, so I'm posting here in hopes that someone might be able to help. I read a short story in the 1990s which featured as a ...
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  • 7,890
4 votes
0 answers
68 views

What happened at the end of "The Key" by Isaac Bashevis Singer?

At the end of "The Key", a short story by Isaac Bashevis Singer, the old lady who has been our main character lies down on her bed, feeling like she's under anesthesia. She then has a vision ...
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  • 19.1k
4 votes
1 answer
53 views

What was the Line Education Movement?

"Wink" is a Tibetan short story by Pema Bhum, translated to English by Tenzin Dickie and freely available to read online from Words Without Borders at the above link. It's set in (presumably)...
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  • 63.1k
4 votes
1 answer
212 views

What is the lamp-post jag?

This passage from R. A. Lafferty's short story "Dream World" (freely available to read online) puzzles me: "What is the lamp-post jag, Bascomb?" asked Officer Mossback McCarty. &...
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  • 63.1k
5 votes
1 answer
75 views

What's the point of Bascombe Swicegood eating so much?

R. A. Lafferty's short story "Dream World" (freely available to read online) starts off with a man (whose name we later learn is Bascombe Swicegood) eating a large breakfast and overhearing ...
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  • 63.1k
2 votes
1 answer
84 views

What is a Special Aspects Man in "Nine Hundred Grandmothers"?

I've just read R. A. Lafferty's short story "Nine Hundred Grandmothers", published in If magazine and freely available to read online. The story starts with the following line: Ceran ...
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  • 63.1k
4 votes
0 answers
87 views

Who are these historical people alluded to by R.A. Lafferty?

In "The Six Fingers of Time", by R. A. Lafferty, available for free here on Project Gutenberg, there is a claim that having an extra finger or toe is associated with genius. The text gives ...
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  • 7,715
4 votes
1 answer
61 views

What is the appearance of the protagonist in Lafferty's "All the People"?

The protagonist of R.A. Lafferty's short story "All the People" (available to read online from Project Gutenberg) is a "restricted person" working at the "filter center". ...
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2 votes
1 answer
52 views

1st person short story, MC=poisoner consulting with "client" - ends with his offering antidote for poison already given?

I first read this in the late 90's, and it was even then a purple mimeographed copy. My memory is that the speaker offers coffee to the "client" and then they talk for some time about the &...
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3 votes
0 answers
38 views

YA or Juvenile short story anthology (textbook?)

When I was in middle school (early 2000s) I remember finding an English textbook full of short stories, plays, and other things. They would be followed by a brief questionnaire before moving onto the ...
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4 votes
1 answer
113 views

Does "sleeves without a sign of cuff or shirt" imply social class?

Quote from "The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle": His rusty black frock-coat was buttoned right up in front, with the collar turned up, and his lank wrists protruded from his sleeves ...
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5 votes
0 answers
44 views

Italian "Verismo" story: a farmer knows his wife cheats on him but he pretends he doesn't know it to avoid troubles

I'm trying to find an Italian short story of the "Verismo" literary movement I read a long time ago and now I recall only partially: it's probably by Verga or Capuana or, less likely, ...
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  • 151
3 votes
1 answer
65 views

Short story by Maugham about writer who sells their soul to see how they are remembered in the future, but their only mention is in this very story

I could be wrong that it is by Maugham, it is about 30+ years since reading - in the story the writer knows another writer who is very bad at writing, but who is convinced of their own genius. The bad ...
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11 votes
1 answer
2k views

Short story about paranoid parents whose baby dies in the barbed wire set up to protect it

My daughter told me that she had to read a short story (about two pages long) about an overprotective couple that were so paranoid that something might harm their baby that they put up all kinds of ...
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1 vote
0 answers
28 views

What does "solidification" mean in "his departure or farewell was a kind of solidification"?

But I had to give up on that idea or hope, I had to wrench it out of my head and heart, or out of my cunt, as the women say back in Torre del Greco, and although I never completely gave up, somehow I ...
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  • 111
8 votes
1 answer
596 views

Short Story about several Mall Santas

A few years ago I read a short story, I don't remember where I read it. It centered around several (I think 12?) men who worked as Mall Santas, and they were all talking about the job and about ...
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5 votes
0 answers
56 views

Short story with a salacious piece of furniture being circularly regifted

I'm looking for the title of a short story I read in the late '90s (but which I think was significantly older). The core element of the story was a piece of furniture (or maybe a curio?) with some ...
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  • 151
0 votes
0 answers
57 views

When was the short story "Accounts Settled" written?

Howard Allison Sturtzel, better known as Paul Annixter, wrote this short story, but there is no indication whether it is from a collection or a stand alone story. I need the date when this was written....
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  • 183
9 votes
2 answers
3k views

Meaning of 'white mask on my otherwise tan face'

I nearly always saw them at the beach, where it’s difficult to get a good look at anyone. Particularly so in my case, because I’m nearsighted and would rather see everything through a haze than return ...
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  • 111
2 votes
1 answer
73 views

Trying to find: short story about man meeting cannibal on train but escaping

In my high school's Western Lit class (1980s), the teacher, Mr. Carlson, handed out three short stories on the theme of modernism and existentialism. One was "A Clean, Well-Lighted Place" ...
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1 vote
0 answers
38 views

Meaning of "Her face, a revolving door, swings open and shut, open and shut"

First her ears hear; they open. Then her eyes can see; they open. Her face, a revolving door, swings open and shut, open and shut. She no longer sleeps at night; it’s too hard to breathe after four ...
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