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#Deal Me In Challenge Short Stories

#DealMeIn2018     hosted by   @Bibliophilopolis

1. 03.01.2017 – READ

In With a Chance by Kathleen Murray in The Dublin Review nr 69. Her writing was clear and simple with a great eye for detail…like Raymond Carver….but she has a long way to go before she fairly can be compared to him.This was an excellent short story, I am amazed! Ms Murray ticks off all the boxes: believable dialogue without being trivialshows…does not tell and leaves hints all throughout the story about the characters. For example, Martin, the narrator…he keeps his clothes in the kitchen cabinets. Now, that is a definite red flag, this man lives alone! Ms Murray’s writing is terse and powerful. She is one of the fresh new Irish voices.  Here is the link for  Cork International Short Story Festival!

2. 07.01.2018 – READ

Bottle Party by John Collier in his collection Fancies and Goodnights vol 1.  Collier was  British novelist, poet and occasional screenwriter…best known as the author of macabre or bizarre short stories with trick endings.  Tone: spooky!  The main character Franklin Fletcher wants a hobby and buys a Jinn in a bottle to grant his wishes: palace with the most beautiful girl in the world.  Of course strange things happen! I loved Collier’s description right out of a Hollywood B-film: plump and dusky muscles (swarthy or dark-skinned); the Jinn withdrew with a a soapy smile (excessively suave or ingratiating). MORAL: don’t fear one who attacks… fear the fake friend that hugs you!

3.   10.01.2018 – READ

Feather Your Nest by Anne O’ Brien  won the Bath Short Story Prize 2016.  Tone: Familiar, casual family talk – characters ask each other questions about the recent ‘house for sale’ sign next door. The narrator watches neighbors closely. They have something the narrator is longing for. Conflict Internal:  ‘I want to scream’. – narrator reveals hidden fears…37 yrs…there’s still time….but for what? Conflict External: “Burnout’ with one word we imagine pressure at work? emotional demand? Work-family conflict? It makes me curious to read further. Conclusion: Satisfied? Ending left me empty.    Did story fascinate you? Not at all  How did it make you feel? I struggled with the story. The dialogue did not add to the atmosphere (no tit-for-tat between husband and wife that I expected especially if one partner is struggling with a burnout.)  Descriptions flow.. (images of the  body: patches of eczema, hair legs, thinning crown of a head, builders bottoms, dark sweat stains on t-shirts, plump hand, marrow of my bones) but did not jolt me.

James Tiptree jr.

7.   19.04.2018 – READ

The Last Flight of Doctor Ain:  (1969)  The story drifts between the past and present. Dr. Ain is on a mission to save the world for a “later race”. Allusions to W.H. Hudson’s novel Green Mansions and the “Gaea Gloriatric“….Gaia is the ancestral mother of all life… are the keys that will unlock the theme in the story. Dr Ain boards his last flight and no one sees the  moral insanity inside him.
Note: After the first reading I was confused. It took a second reading and some note taking to finally appreciate this classic short story by one of SF   ‘grande dames’.


  1. Short story:  Audition – S. Sayarfiwezadeh – READ (The New Yorker 10.09.2018)
  2. The Knights Tale (classic) – Chaucer – READ  17.11.2018

  1. The Pull of the Moon  – Julie Paul – (12 stories) – READ #CanBookChallenge 16.12.20189
  2. Saints and Sinners Edna O’Brien (short stories) – READ  only  4 /10  good  #ReadIreland

4 reviews:

Read: 28.12.2018      Shovel Kings   by Edna O’Brien (Collection: Saints and Sinners (2011)

  1. An absolutely feel good story.…it is the longest in this collection.
  2. Title:  Shovel Kings refers to the young Irishmen who
  3. …came to England to do  construction and digging work.
  4. On payday they felt like (shovel) kings!
  5. Edna O’Brien describes Rafferty (60+)…
  6. “He doesn’t belong in England and ditto Ireland
  7. ….exile is in the mind and there is no cure for that”
  8. Rafferty and Edna O’Brien  have something in common:
  9. …both felt themselves as exiles having lived in England for 50 years.


Read: 29.12.2018       Sinners  by Edna O’Brien

  1. Delia runs a small B&B in a rural village.
  2. The beating heart of this story is her response to events internally.
  3. Her thoughts run wild
  4. ….imaging what her 3 guest are doing in one bedroom.
  5. Flashbacks of her marriage and her children combined with a
  6. bizarre dream of saints disrobed
  7. ….drives her to frantically taking a sleeping pill.
  8. Strong point: pace
  9. Pacing feels like a hand pressed in the middle of our backs.
  10. …pushing us along.
  11. The sense of trying to catch up with Delia’s thoughts.
  12. This sense must never slack.
  13. Delia alludes to lewd machinations
  14. ….going on under her roof.
  15. We want to know more….sort of voyeurism!


Read 29.12.2018    Madame Cassandra    by Edna O’Brien

  1. Mildred is the first person narrator sitting on the steps of
  2. …Mme Cassandra’s caravan hoping for a meeting.
  3. Her marriage is falling apart.
  4. In a moment of emotion she quotes W. B.Yeats:
  5. ...”Never give all the heart outright.”
  6. Does the older wife have a card up her sleeve ?
  7. Can she outplay the young lover’s trump card?
  8. Strong point: Tension increases.
  9. We want to know what Mildred will do.
  10. How can Mme Cassandra help her?
  11. This was impressive writing
  12. ….creating a flow of thoughts with a whiff of humor
  13. …that seems erratic but is so very well constructed.
  14. Strong point: Edna O’Brien is a champion ‘withholder’.
  15. It is her unwillingness to over explain.
  16. She lets the story end ….and the reader must decide.


Read: 29.12.2018    Black Flower   by Edna O’Brien

  1. Woman: Mona, painting teacher
  2. Man: Shane …in prison 15 years …just out a few weeks ago
  3. Mona and Shane meet to take a drive and have
  4. dinner in a restaurant.
  5. Shane is free but his enemies
  6. …are still looking for him.
  7. This was a short depressing story.
  8. I didn’t like it.



  • Hosted by Jay sign up here:  @Bibliophilopols
  • What is the goal of the challenge?
  • To read 52 short stories in 2019 (that’s only one per week )
  • What do I need?
  • 1) fifty-two short stories
    2) A deck of cards
  • LIST:
  • Stories published in 2018  The New Yorker:


  1. Ace – Whoever is there, come on through – Colin Barett
  2. Foreign Returned – Sadia Shepard
  3. Texas – David Gates
  4. Writing Teacher – John E. Wideman
  5. The Boundary – J. Lahiri
  6. Bronze – Jeffrey Eugenides
  7. Stansville – Rachel Kushner
  8. Mrs. Crasthorpe – Willliam Trevor
  9. Seeing Ershadi – Nicole Kraus
  10. The Poltroon Husband – Joseph O’ Neill
  11. Jack – No More Maybe – Gish Jen
  12. Queen – The State – Tommy Orange
  13. King – The Intermediate Class – Sam Allingham



  1. Ace – The State of Nature – Camille Bordas
  2. How Did We Come to Know You – Keith Gressen
  3. A Flawless Silence – Yiyun Li
  4. Treatments – Robert Coover
  5. The Boarder – Isaac Bashevis Singer
  6. Without Inspection – Edwidge Danticat
  7. The Long Black Line – John L’Heureux
  8. Stay Down and Take It – Ben Marcus
  9. Silver Tiger – Lu Wang
  10. Orange World – Karen Russel
  11. Jack – Fungus – David Gilbert
  12. Queen – Omakase – Weike Wang
  13. King – The Luck of Kotura – Gary Shteyngart



  1. Ace –The First World – Joseph O’ Neill
  2. Under the Wave – Lauren Groff
  3. The Dog – J.M. Coetzee (Dec 2017)
  4. No More Than Ever – Zadie Smith
  5. I Walk Between the Raindrops – T. Coraghessan Boyle
  6. Displaced – Richard Ford
  7. A Refugee Crisis – Callan Wink
  8. Ways and Means – Sana Krasikov
  9. The Wind Cave – Haruki Murakami
  10. Cecilia Awakened – Tessa Hadley
  11. Jack – Poor Girl – Ludmilla Petrushevssky
  12. Queen – When We Were Happy We Had Other Names – Yiyun Li
  13. King – The Rise and Rise of Annie Clark – John L’Heureux



  1. Ace – The Coast of Leitrim – Kevin Barry (Ireland)
  2. Flaubert Again – Anne Carson
  3. Waugh – Bryan Washington
  4. Backpack – Tom Earley
  5. Cattle Praise Song – S. Mukasonga
  6. Show Recent Some Love – Sam Lipsyte
  7. The Frog King – Garth Greenwell
  8. Snowing in Greenwich Village – John Updike
  9. Children are Bored on Sunday – Jean Stafford
  10. Chaunt – Jay Williams
  11. Jack – Time for the Eyes to Adjust – Linn Ullmann
  12. Queen – Acceptance Journey – Mary Gaitskill
  13. King – The Lazy River – Zadie Smith (Dec 2017)