a taste of the world's best short stories


Other Cultures - Other Times

  1. Boule de Suif by Guy de Maupassant
    The realistic portrayal of a courageous prostitute in Guy de Maupassant's "Boule de Suif" (Ball of Fat) has guaranteed the story... - Commentary by Karen Bernardo
  2. Di Grasso by Isaac Babel
    In Isaac Babel's short story 'Di Grasso,' the narrator is a fourteen year old boy employed by an Odessa theatrical booking firm. Unfortunately, his immediate... - Commentary by Karen Bernardo
  3. Emilie Plead Choose One Egg by Paule Barton
    Paule Barton's 'Emilie Plead Choose One Egg' has no plot to speak of; it is simply a slice of life, and it gives the reader... - Commentary by Karen Bernardo
  4. God Sees the Truth, but Waits by Leo Tolstoy
    The protagonist of Leo Tolstoy's short story "God Sees The Truth, But Waits" is a carefree young man named Ivan Dmitrich... - Commentary by Karen Bernardo
  5. Like a Bad Dream by Heinrich Bölll
    Heinrich Böll's "Like A Bad Dream" concerns an upwardly mobile young German couple in the 1960s; we do not know the narrator's name,... - Commentary by Karen Bernardo
  6. Looking for a Rain God by Bessie Head
    Bessie Head's "Looking for a Rain God" tells the story of a family of African villagers who make their living by farming the... - Commentary by Karen Bernardo
  7. Mademoiselle Fifi by Guy de Maupassant
    On the surface, Guy de Maupassant's "Mademoiselle Fifi" reflects the same world as "Boule de Suif" in its focus on prostitutes and... - Commentary by Karen Bernardo
  8. My First Goose by Isaac Babel
    Isaac Babel's story, 'My First Goose,' tells the story of a young, educated Jew named Liutov who is serving in the Cossack army during... - Commentary by Karen Bernardo
  9. Notes from the Underground by Fyodor Dostoevsky
    It is ironic that the unnamed hero of Dostoevsky's "Notes from the Underground" considers himself to be the quintessential man, given the fact that... - Commentary by Karen Bernardo
  10. The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer
    The Canterbury Tales (written around 1387) is a long work, written in poetic form by a Londoner named Geoffrey Chaucer. - Commentary by Karen Bernardo
  11. The Chicken by Clarice Lispector
    Clarice Lispector's short story 'The Chicken' is exceptional, not only for the fact that its protagonist is a common garden-variety... - Commentary by Karen Bernardo
  12. The Collector of Treasures by Bessie Head
    Bessie Head's story "The Collector of Treasures" is a dramatic indictment of the oppressive attitudes of men in her culture... - Commentary by Karen Bernardo
  13. The Country Doctor by Franz Kafka
    Kafka's story 'The Country Doctor' is one of his most enigmatic, because it is one of his most symbolic, and his symbols defy easy... - Commentary by Karen Bernardo
  14. The Death of Ivan Ilyich by Leo Tolstoy
    As an author, Leo Tolstoy was profoundly concerned with the idea of the meaning of life. He recognized that what conventional... - Commentary by Karen Bernardo
  15. The Fifth Story by Clarice Lispector
    In its lack of traditional storytelling structure, Clarice Lispector's 'The Fifth Story' is very reminiscent of Margaret Atwood's... - Commentary by Karen Bernardo
  16. The Guest by Albert Camus
    In Albert Camus' The Guest, an idealistic teacher -- possibly very much like Camus himself -- has chosen a teaching post in the Algerian desert as an... - Commentary by Karen Bernardo
  17. The Hollow Nut by Colette
    Colette rarely tells a story in a linear fashion, and this one is no exception. The story is about a little girl named Bel-Gazou who picks up a... - Commentary by Karen Bernardo
  18. The Hunter Gracchus by Franz Kafka
    In his short story 'The Hunter Gracchus' Kafka unveils his view of life through a glimpse into the world of the dead. The protagonist... - Commentary by Karen Bernardo
  19. Knight's Tale by Geoffrey Chaucer
    Geoffrey Chaucer's "Knight's Tale" reflects the courtly love tradition's idea of what the male's relationship to the female should be. - Commentary by Karen Bernardo
  20. The Laugher by Heinrich Böll
    Heinrich Böll's "The Laugher" concerns an actor whose specialty is laughing. He has refined the art of laughing to its highest degree; as... - Commentary by Karen Bernardo
  21. The Merchant's Tale by Geoffrey Chaucer
    Geoffrey Chaucer's "The Merchant's Tale," one of the Canterbury Tales , has no moral value whatsoever; it is a fabliau, a... - Commentary by Karen Bernardo
  22. The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
    Franz Kafka's work demonstrates that the attributes conventional society mistakes for life's meaning -- success, social position, political or... - Commentary by Karen Bernardo
  23. The Miller's Tale by Geoffrey Chaucer
    Geoffrey Chaucer's "The Miller's Tale," one of the Canterbury Tales , has no moral value whatsoever; it is a ribald and bawdy... - Commentary by Karen Bernardo
  24. The Necklace by Guy de Maupassant
    During the course of Guy de Maupassant's short story 'The Necklace,' the main character, Matilda Loisel, makes a number of ironic... - Commentary by Karen Bernardo
  25. The Other Wife by Colette
    Colette's "The Other Wife" chronicles an awkward but in these days not uncommon situation -- a new wife running into the woman who used to be... - Commentary by Karen Bernardo
  26. The Pardoner's Tale by Geoffrey Chaucer
    Geoffrey Chaucer's "Pardoner's Tale", probably the darkest of his Canterbury Tales , reveals the corruption behind the entire corpus... - Commentary by Karen Bernardo
  27. The Prioress Tale by Geoffrey Chaucer
    Chaucer's Prioress is first described in the Canterbury Tales' General Prologue in rather sweet and definitely sympathetic terms. She... - Commentary by Karen Bernardo
  28. The Wall by Jean Paul Sartre
    Jean Paul Sartre's 'The Wall' takes place during the Spanish Civil War, and tells the story of three prisoners on the night before they are to be... - Commentary by Karen Bernardo
  29. The Wife of Bath's Tale by Geoffrey Chaucer
    Chaucer's "Wife of Bath's Tale," a short excerpt from his longer work The Canterbury Tales , resembles the other stories in... - Commentary by Karen Bernardo
  30. This Way For The Gas by Tadeusz Borowski
    This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentleman is the title piece of a short story collection by the late... - Commentary by Karen Bernardo
  31. White Nights by Fyodor Dostoevsky
    In Fyodor Dostoevsky's short story "White Nights," his unnamed protagonist is a sensitive, poetic resident of the very Westernized St.... - Commentary by Karen Bernardo