Alan McMonagle’s Top Ten Short Story Collections You’ve Never Heard Of


Alan McMonagle, one of Ireland’s must-read short story writers, will be reading at the first edition of The Bogmans Cannon Fiction Disco – a new type of literary event that combines the best in live storytelling with a Bring Your Own Tune Disco, a high-class book swap, and a collaboration pitch space for artists looking for partners to make non-profit projects happen. The Bogmans Cannon Fiction Disco, also featuring June Caldwell and Kevin Curran takes place on FRi 13th November from 7.30 in Toners on Baggot Street.

Tickets available here.

The Daring Young Man On The Flying Trapeze by William Saroyan

Outrageously inventive and linguistically acrobatic. Human comedy at its best by this Armenian settled in Fresno, California.

Thus Were Their Faces by Silvina Ocampo

A top of the class graduate from the Big Bad Wolf School of Writing, Ocampo’s heartless children, crazed lovers and all-round assortment of play-rough types will linger in the memory.

The Suitcase by Sergei Dovlatov

Brilliantly subversive recollections on how the author came into possession of the eight items he discovers in the eponymous suitcase.

East of the West by Miroslav Penkov

Voices that leap off the page and grab you by the heart, head and other places. Read the opening paragraph of the opening story and decide for yourself.

Flowering Judas by Katherine Anne Porter

Betrayal, death and the origin of human evil twenty-five years before Flannery O’Connor was crowned empress of such matters.

The Iraqi Christ by Hassan Blasim

Kafka cut with generous measures of Bolaño and Borges, these hell-zone fables demonstrate just how far a short story can take us.

Wilful Creatures Aimee Bender

The extraordinary invades the ordinary in these surreal shards of loneliness, suspicion, torture and death.

The Book of Embraces by Eduardo Galeano

Parables, paradoxes, contradictions, poetic fragments, gritty anecdotes, and dream-state reflections comprise an all-encompassing testimony to this Uruguayan’s terrific imagination.

Today I Wrote Nothing by Daniil Kharms

Invoking the ghosts of Gogol, Pushkin and Dostoyevsky, and not published in book form in his Russian homeland until 1988 (four and a half decades after his death), these are among the best absurdist and spectral treats to come out of the rabbit-hole madness that was Stalinist Russia.

There Once Lived a Girl Who Seduced Her Sister’s Husband, and He Hanged Himself by Ludmilla Petrushevskaya

This collection also comes with a subtitle: Love Stories. Refreshingly, the author has her own take on where to go with this age-old theme, and it is within these singular regions where Petrusheskaya conjures her remarkable fictions. The title provides a clue.

Though ask me again tomorrow and it will be totally different…