The best short story collections of 2016

05 September 2016

We love a short story here at Picador and we're honoured to publish some true masters of the form.

In celebration of our wonderful short story writers, we've made seven brilliant stories from some of the best collections of the year available for you to read right now.  

Legoland

Legoland

Gerard Woodward is one of our finest writers . . . he writes with subtlety and skill’  Daily Telegraph

Many of Legoland's fifteen stories begin with Woodward's sharp and unflinching eye alighting upon an apparently everyday detail or situation, but then a sudden twist takes them to an unsettling place where life's normal rules no longer apply.

In Woodward's brilliant story 'The Family Whistle', shortlisted for the Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award, a woman's husband returns home from war, only to discover his wife thinks he's been back for years because another man has already claimed his place.

Read extract  

Read ‘The Family Whistle’ from Legoland

 

A Manual for Cleaning Women

A Manual for Cleaning Women

This selection of 43 stories should by all rights see Lucia Berlin as lauded as Jean Rhys or Raymond Carver'Independent 


Witty, anarchic and compassionate, the stories in A Manual for Cleaning Women make for one of the most remarkable unsung collections in twentieth-century American fiction.

'Teenage punk' offers a glimpse at the relationship between a mother and teenage child. 

Read extract  

Read 'Teenage Punk' from A Manual for Cleaning Women

 

The Not-Dead and The Saved and Other Stories

The Not-Dead and The Saved and Other Stories

‘Clanchy's tales possess a raw, unsettled urgency, as if she were gripping the reader by the collar. These are not, it should be noted, stories for the faint of heart.’ - Guardian

These sixteen stories introduce a host of characters who are desperately, creatively, and often hilariously trying to evade the underlying truths of their lives. They offer a frank, funny, and sometimes desolating, examination of human nature, always underpinned by tenderness, and by a faith in enduring bonds of love. 

‘Aunt Mirrie and the Child’ is a warm, moving story about family, love and those we have lost.

Read extract  

Read ‘Aunt Mirrie and the Child’ from The Not-Dead
 

The Fat Artist and Other Stories

The Fat Artist and Other Stories

Oddly beautiful and impossible to look away from.' - Los Angeles Times

Benjamin Hale's fiction abounds with a love of language and a wild joy for storytelling. Occasionally nightmarish and often absurd, the seven stories in this collection introduce us to a company of indelible characters reeling with love, jealousy, megalomania, and despair.

'Don't Worry Baby' tells the story of 1960s political radicals on the run from the law and a flight that descends into the worst of trips, in both senses of the word.

Read extract  

Read 'Don't Worry Baby' from The Fat Artist
 

Your Father Sends His Love

Your Father Sends His Love

Witty and accomplished. . . Evers's sparse prose resounds meaningfully, sending out ripples across the pond of family life' - Daily Mail

With wit, subtllety, and uncommon sensitivity, Evers explores the complex, baffling relationship between parents and their children. Your Father Sends His Love is a powerful, haunting, and deeply felt work about the most important relationships we will ever know.

In 'Lakelands' the protagonist recalls the devastating consequences of lying to his dad about a beating he suffered after he came out in his youth.

Read extract  

Read ‘Lakelands’ from Your Father Sends His Love

 


What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours

What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours

'Pure, sensuous enjoyment' - Times

The stories collected in What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours are linked by more than the exquisitely winding prose of their creator: Helen Oyeyemi's ensemble cast of characters slip from the pages of their own stories only to surface in another.

 ''Sorry’ Doesn’t Sweeten Her Tea' invites us into a 'house of locks' where doors can be closed only with a key.

Read extract  

Start reading ‘‘sorry’ doesn’t sweeten her tea’ from What is Not Yours is Not Yours
 

Beneath the Bonfire

Beneath the Bonfire

'He writes with the insight of Nick Hornby and the rural authenticity of John Steinbeck and pulls it off big time.' – Daily Mail

In these ten stories, Nickolas Butler demonstrates his talent for portraying a place and its people with unparalleled tenderness, evoking an American landscape that will be instantly recognizable to readers enchanted by his debut novel, Shotgun Lovesongs.

In 'Rainwater' a grandfather raises his grandson after his mother disappears without a trace. 

Read extract  

Read ‘Rainwater’ from Beneath the Bonfire

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