Readersforum's Blog

June 20, 2013

The Resurgence of the Short Story: The Smallest of Entryways and Cristen Hemingway Jaynes

By K.J. Wetherholt

Cristen Hemingway Jaynes

Cristen Hemingway Jaynes

“When well told, a story captured the subtle movement of change. If a novel was a map of a country, a story was the bright silver pin that marked the crossroads.” — Ann Patchett

In a February 15, 2013 article for The New York Times, Leslie Kaufman noted the recognition of a trend that many among the literary world are currently embracing: the digital age in publishing has brought back what Neil Gaiman once described as “the novel’s wayward younger brother” — the short stories that most might otherwise have relegated to the memory of literature classes in high school or college.

Many of us remember these shorter works by literary masters: among them Henry James, Edgar Allan Poe, Ernest Hemingway–or in more contemporary times, noted authors such as Jim Harrison, George Saunders or Louise Erdrich, whose works, if not read in literary magazines, journals, or such publications as Esquire and The New Yorker, are instead placed in short story collections that rely almost wholly on the author’s name recognition for sales.

However, with the recent prevalence of Kindle, Nook, and other digital reading devices, short fiction has started to return as an acceptable, and salable form, in fact bringing back the form with a power and a popular respectability it has not had for some time.

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