The Inquiring Reader
Reviews, critiques, and thoughts

All Reviewed Short Stories

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  • 93

    Yesterday by Haruki Murakami

    Tanimura moves to Tokyo to pursue his education at the university and befriends Kitaru, a coworker at a small coffee shop he works in. Kitaru speaks in the same Kansai dialect as the narrator, even though he is not from the region, which both sparks curiosity and defines their friendship.

  • 91

    Borderland by Olga Tokarczuk

    Borderland is somber story about a writer in a post-apocalyptic world who is trying to make sense of the collapsing world around him.

  • 90

    The Station by J. Robert Lennon

    A man is sent to a deserted island and required to perform a bizarre, remedial task every three hours in the station's control room. Across the island is the Facility, an old building with no entrance that he's edging to investigate.

  • 90

    With the Beatles by Haruki Murakami

    Memories shift and change over time. Our relationships are defined by the sensations that stick out from all the others – the fluttering of our hearts for the first time, the music that plays on the radio. As old age comes for all of us, how will we remember our past?

  • 87

    Hold Your Fire by Chloe Wilson

    At work, Fiona designs and builds missiles used for war; at home, she is pushed to assume the roles of a loving wife and mother. When her son gets bullied at school, she has to decide which role she will play.

  • 85

    This Is Pleasure by Mary Gaitskill

    Margot and Quin have a peculiar friendship. Quin eschews social conventions, and often makes overtly sexual comments and jokes. Margot finds Quin's personality to be eccentric and endearing, but her opinion changes as allegations of sexual harassment come out against him in the workplace.

  • 84

    Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God by Joyce Carol Oates

    Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God looks at what is important to us when faced with uncertainty and destruction. It is a vivid story of environmental collapse in the near future, filled with despair, anxiety, beauty, and relief.

  • 83

    Pursuit as Happiness by Ernest Hemingway

    Hemingway himself appears as the narrator in this never-before-published short story about marlin fishing off the coast of Cuba. He charters a fishing boat with an old acquaintance, Mr. Josie, and tries to reel in a huge marlin.

  • 82

    The Resident Poet by Katherine Dunn

    What seems to be a romantic getaway turns into a crude semblance of one. The narrator doesn’t want to be there. She’s not attracted to the man she’s with – repulsed even. Why does she go on with it?

  • 82

    Playing Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain by Jamil Jan Kochai

    In Playing Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, Jamil Jan Kochai questions the morality of war-based video games. These games don’t represent some idealism of the past, they represent a deep-rooted, neo-imperialistic ideology under which young Americans are being indoctrinated.

  • 81

    Confessions of a Shinagawa Monkey by Haruki Murakami

    In rural Japan, a traveler comes across a rundown inn where a talking monkey works. The traveler is curious about his life, and the monkey confesses he only loves human females. To satisfy his hopeless desires, the monkey steals women's names.

  • 81

    The Trip by Weike Wang

    A playful, yet deeply emotional reflection on intercultural relationships. A man follows his wife to China to meet her extended family and watches as she forms her identity and immerses herself in her native culture – all the while growing further and futher apart from one another.

  • 80

    Godmother Tea by Selena Anderson

    A young woman receives a set of antique furniture that has been passed down through her family. Among the pieces is a mirror through which her ancestors gaze. The Godmother, a sweet and wise woman, appears in the real world and helps the narrator out with the problems going on in her life.

  • 80

    Demolition by Fiona McFarlane

    Peering through the blinds of her living room, Eva watches the demolition of a neighborhood house. A dark story surrounds it, but she only wants to remember the good times. A reporter comes to investigate.

  • 80

    The Lost Performance of the High Priestess of the Temple of Horror by Carmen Maria Machado

    In the dark and dismal streets of pre-war Paris, France, a young girl loses her mother to illness. She joins the crew at a local theater that is known for its staged violence, fake blood, and unhinged main actress. The girl has nowhere else to turn.

  • 79

    Only Orange by Camille Bordas

    Family relationships are difficult. In Only Orange, Camille Bordas explores the inner workings of family through the perspective of a deeply cynical woman in her mid-thirties, struggling with a slew of personal and interpersonal issues while on vacation with her family in southern Spain.

  • 78

    Uncle Jim Called by David Rabe

    Uncle Jim Called is a retrospection for those who have regrets over lost loved ones and a warning for those who will inevitably understand these feeling one day.

  • 77

    Natural Light by Kathleen Alcott

    Casually walking through a museum in New York City, a woman sees a lewd photograph of her mother who had passed away years before. She can't believe it. Her mother was a run-of-the mill sort of person, not what is on display in the photograph. She contacts her father looking for answers and attempts to cope with her mother's identity.

  • 75

    The Little King by Salman Rushdie

    The Little King is an ironic, comical, and disheartening story of two cousins associated with the current Opioid epidemic. It explores greed, corruption, and the justification that some people feel while committing questionable acts for personal profit.

  • 73

    She Said He Said by Hanif Kureishi

    She Said He Said is a short, compact reflection on relationships that are soured by an unwelcome attempt at seduction. Kureishi's writing is brisk and to-the-point, focused entirely on providing the reader with only the essential details.

  • 65

    Bringing Down the Sky by Alan Bao

    Bringing Down the Sky is a reminder that without action, the more prosperous will take advantage of underrepresented groups due to the fundamental structure of society.