Suspense: coming of age short stories


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It'll make you ache in the kind of twee way that may later make you want to cringe.

Short Story Ideas

It definitely makes you appreciate your flaws, which, as a twentysomething, isn't always the easiest thing to do. Where to read it: Welcome to the Monkey House. Conversation and dissent in reading have sometimes shaped me just as much as how much I love something. Where to read it: Dancing Girls or online here.

Our favourite coming-of-age stories

The prose is whip smart. The narrator struggles to acknowledge that her life matters, that she's accountable whatsoever, because of how meaningless it all feels — her failed relationship, her students being subjected to standardized tests, the empty promises she makes herself. Where to read it: Online here. This is not an emotion that people in their twenties feel very often, but that is precisely why this story is valuable to us. Implicitly, it poses a thought experiment: What if you were shot in the head this afternoon?

What about twenty years from now? What would you remember, and what wouldn't you? Living your life in such a way that you are not horribly disgusted by the answers to those questions seems like a pretty good way of going about things. Where to read it: The Night In Question or online here. Where to read it: Right Livelihoods.


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McIntyre, the farm's proprietor, had asked a priest to bring a DP to work for her, and the story traces the escalating strains of resentment that follow his arrival. Through it all, poor Mr. Guizac just minds his own business. In a world where gunmen protect borders from children and teenagers get shot for knocking on doors, O'Connor's story — blackly funny, quietly heartbreaking — is more relevant than ever, and more necessary. So Salinger, so good, but it's also much more. Egan's skill elevates it beyond comparison. I read it on the cusp of my thirties, a decade after I'd first read The Catcher In The Rye , and was left with a similar feeling.

A terrible sadness, yet a sense of awe for Egan, and the thrill of having read something so affecting. Read it, but be warned, there will be tears. Where to read it: A Visit from the Goon Squad or online here. It taught me that nothing is ever really what it seems to be on the outside, and A relationship requires work and talking things through, as dark as the story is. Packer has a talent for articulating the ups and downs of awkwardness, disappointment, emotional pain, and social dyspepsia — bedfellows many twentysomethings know all too well. Where to read it: Drinking Coffee Elsewhere or online here.

It got me completely hooked — the gleeful literary and philosophical messing about acts as an excellent gateway drug for the rest of Borges's work. Where to read it: Collected Fictions or online here. Buddy is a coal miner on the verge of losing everything, toiling to empty out the ground as his life empties out all around him.

“The Tribute” by Jane Gardam (1980)

To make matters worse, he is burdened with a difficult choice: to call a strike at the mine where he works, or keep quiet. The Stories of Breece D'J Pancake , in which his whole body of work is collected, is an essential read, and 'Hollow' in particular is the darkest, blackest, most glittering piece of coal in the entire book published posthumously after the author took his own life. Kind of heavy stuff, but a super rewarding read. Where to read it: Birds of America.


  1. “The Stone Boy” by Gina Berriault (1957)!
  2. God, He is Poetry;
  3. Coming-of-age story.
  4. 2. "America and I" by Anzia Yezierska.
  5. The narrative's touch is too light to come firmly down on one side of this question or the other, but the way in which the protagonist's self-made fairy tale keeps butting up against the grimy reality of life in postwar Italy does suggest that finding a place in the world is far more fraught a process than the myth of the fresh start would have us believe.

    Where to read it: The Magic Barrel. It's essential for anyone who either suffers from depression and is looking for a voice that understands, or anyone who cares about a depressed person and wants an idea of what's going on in their heads. So, really — and especially in your twenties when bouts of depression start to crop up — it's for everyone. For me, it's always been strangely cathartic. Where to read it: Brief Interviews with Hideous Men. It scared me and I think about it every time I pass a mannequin display. Little happens. Even the ending, its realization, is relatively small, and yet remains one of the largest, most haunting paragraphs I've ever read.

    Rereading the story, dissecting it, you realize the story is a tapestry and not a thread is extraneous. Where to read it: Dubliners or online here. Where to read it: Interpreter of Maladies or online here. I think of it almost every time that it rains because I remember that even if it sucks if it's raining right now, at least I know it will stop relatively soon, and I feel better.

    But what really struck me about this story was the poor little girl, bullied and locked in the closet. I was never locked in a closet, but I was shoved into lockers, put in a trash can, and forced to go to a Bar Mitzvah in my sneakers because someone had hidden my fancy shoes at the pre-party sleepover. Where to read it: The Stories of Ray Bradbury or online here. It's more or less the premise of surrealism, but far more understated and precise.

    The stories are also beautiful in an unnerving way. When Stew discovers that his lesbian daughter, Kitty, has just written a piece about coming out for a magazine, he immediately drives to the store to buy an issue. On the way, he rehashes their relationship, and we begin to understand that Stew has all but pushed his daughter away after years of emotional abuse, and deserves any lampooning she throws his way.

    You feel sorry for this man, who is so blinded by his own ego that he can't see why he's lost his daughter, and also happy to think that he's about to get what's coming to him. Where to read it: Because They Wanted To or online here.

    Short Stories for Middle and High School Students to Read Online

    Part of it, I think, is the tension between the matter-of-fact lightness of Salinger's prose and the gut-punch impact of the plot; this thing leaves your ears ringing without ever once having raised its voice. But the reason I keep going back to it is the hauntingly concise way in which it captures one of the lasting lessons of my twenties: That at the end of the day, we never really know what other people are thinking. Where to read it: Nine Stories or online here. At the time lot of it went over my head, and it wasn't until the movie came out and I reread it as an adult that I really got it.

    It's the purest, most honest, and real depiction of lost love I've ever read. This sentimental tale has a moral lesson and is widely enjoyed during Christmastime and the holiday season. Study Guide. This is a special seasonal selection for The Holiday Season. It's a story to read for perspective, and is also featured in our Christmas Stories collection.

    A short story masterpiece: This a suspenseful story about a Civil War soldier, Petyon Farquhar, who has been captured by enemy troops. The story opens in a dangerous predicament, with the soldier about to be hanged, "A man stood upon a railroad bridge in northern Alabama A rope closely encircled his neck.

    The Cask of Amontillado.

    This a powerful and well written tale of sorrow. The story -- depending on the reader -- can operate on at least two levels; as a simple story about a dog, a child and crushing cruelty. It may also be interpreted as an allegorical social criticism after the American Civil War. Either way, it's a powerful, sad story.

    Three wishes and a Monkey's paw. What could go wrong? A horror story in the short story form. And I quote: "The first man had his three wishes. Yes," was the reply, "I don't know what the first two were, but the third was for death. That's how I got the paw. A classic revenge story in the horror genre. The story is set in an unspecified Italian city, the protagonist, Motressor believes he has suffered a thousand slights and injuries at the hand of his friend.

    Montressor invites -- rather tricks --his friend, Fortunato , into tasting some wine stored back at his pallazo in the wine cellar. Mark Twain's take on the battle of the sexes is funny and witty and brilliant as he writes once from Eve's perspective and then follows-up from Adam's. A sample observation from Eve, "He talks very little. Perhaps it is because he is not bright The Story of an Hour.

    This dramatic short story -- an early entrant in feminist literature -- was very controversial when published in It suggests a possibility that people of that era were more comfortable rejecting rather than considering. The story still has the power to make modern readers uncomfortable. But please note that it is possible and sometimes even desirable to criticize an aspect of something to point out a nuanced feature; a quick mind can illuminate part of an arrangement without condemning the entire arrangement.

    I believe that is what Chopin did here. This suspenseful and climactic story will take you on an emotional journey.

    31 Movies Based on Short Stories | Literary Hub

    The hard-luck life of hard-hearted miners changes with the birth of Thomas Luck who draws on the heart strings of the rough and tumble miners of Roaring Camp. Featured in our Civil War Stories. A beautiful story hinting at the depths of a woman's emotional complexity. A great short story, one that could easily be misunderstood by modern feminists. Another interesting story from Ambrose Bierce. This one is also set during the American Civil War.

    I classify this one under man versus himself. One of the early American classics, and don't forget its famous companion Rip Van Winkle. All three of these stories are important examples of Hawthorne's contribution to the genre of Dark Romanticism, and should be read.

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