California Literary Review

Short Stories

The Cape May Stories by Robert C.S. Downs


June 4th, 2008

Rare in our time, the writing in THE CAPE MAY STORIES is superb, even magical in its clear-sighted modesty of style, one that implicitly offers in plenitude, examples of decency. A surprising, and exhilarating, visit to Cape May awaits readers.

The Pearl Jacket and Other Stories: Flash Fiction from Contemporary China


May 5th, 2008

Flash fiction, or the “smoke-long story,” or the “skinny story,” as it is sometimes called in China, is short, true. But as anyone who has tried to write a thank you card knows, brevity ain’t easy. Nor is it truly fair to view this book as a kind of primer on all thoughts Chinese. After all, one doesn’t expect E. Annie Proulx’s work to bear much relation to T.C. Boyle’s, despite the shared vocabulary.

The Collected Short Stories of Louis L’Amour


January 30th, 2008

If you meet a quiet, rugged kind of a fella with an almost superhuman knowledge of tracking, botany, and the lawful ways of the West, don’t challenge him in a gunfight. You’ll lose. Keep an eye out for smooth-talking, rich, and handsome men. They’re not to be trusted and they never end tidily. But a trim girl with smiling eyes who knows how to ride a horse, be she a reformed prostitute or a rancher’s daughter…well, expect to see her settling down any day now.

The Nimrod Flipout – by Etgar Keret


April 22nd, 2007

You know how sometimes you’ll be having dinner with a woman and then, as the sun goes down, she’ll turn into a heavy, hairy man?

Destination: Morgue! L.A. Tales – by by James Ellroy


April 11th, 2007

Anyone who reads “Balls to the Wall” will gain a true, bloody taste for a slice of contemporary life that is all American, nasty, perverted, occasionally heroic.

Centuria: 100 Ouroboric Novels by Giorgio Manganelli


April 10th, 2007

Americans in this therapy-mad epoch tend to take, rather mistake, an “experience” for that fateful “event.” Perusing Centuria, we may come to understand that the myriad catastrophes blazoned in newspapers and splashed over our screens — love, celebrity, athletic prowess, failure or fame, marriage, illness, crisis, smashup — do not concern the soul; nor can they illuminate whatever meaning life might propose.

Bad Dirt: Wyoming Stories 2 by Annie Proulx


April 10th, 2007

Where do I start with Annie Proulx? Where does anyone start with Annie Proulx? Certainly not at the beginning. She wouldn’t like that. Conventional approaches to anything appear to at once annoy and to bore the Wyoming writer.

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