Novelettes: Long Stories to Read Online

These stories could be classified as novelettes, long stories, or long short stories depending on your preference.

They will have a minimum of 7,500 words and a maximum of 15,000. Word counts are approximate.

There is a short summary and a link for reading online.

A Circle in the Fire | Flannery O’Connor (7,600 words)

Mrs. Cope owns a large farm. She is protective of her property and feels she is good at handling whatever comes up. One day, three boys visit her; the father of one of the boys used to work for Mrs. Cope. That boy, Powell, remembers the farm and has been telling his friends about it. They want to enjoy farm life for a while.

“A Circle in the Fire” (Pg.166)

Royal Jelly | Roald Dahl (8,000 words)

A new mother is worried because her baby has been losing weight since birth. Her husband, a bee expert, adds royal jelly to their baby’s formula.

“Royal Jelly”

Parker’s Back | Flannery O’Connor (8,200 words)

Parker is dissatisfied with his life. He’s not sure why he’s still with his wife – a deeply religious woman – and she’s pregnant. His main focus has been to get tattoos; there’s no room left on the front of his body. While driving a tractor, he has an experience that proves to be a turning point for him.

“Parker’s Back”

The Gay Old Dog | Edna Ferber (8,300 words)

Jo Hertz is a plump, lonely bachelor of fifty. The narrator tells us Jo’s story from the age of twenty-seven when his mother died and she got him to promise to put his life on hold until his three sisters were cared for.

“The Gay Old Dog”

Revelation | Flannery O’Connor (8,700 words)

Mrs. Turpin and her husband are in a doctor’s waiting room.  Mrs. Turpin is racist and judgmental, and she attracts the attention of a young woman, who looks at her intently.

“Revelation”

Good Country People | Flannery O’Connor (8,800 words)

A travelling Bible salesman visits a farm owned by a woman who has a daughter with a prosthetic leg. He is invited to stay for dinner.

“Good Country People”

Friend of My Youth | Alice Munro (8,900 words)

The narrator recounts the life of Flora Grieves. She lived on a farm with her sister, Ellie, and her brother-in-law, Robert. She tells us how the house and work was divided, how Ellie and Robert came to be married, and how Flora responded to the many changes in her life.

“Friend of My Youth”

A Bottle of Perrier | Edith Wharton (8,950 words)

Medford, from the American School of Archaeology at Athens, goes to visit his friend, Henry, an amateur archaeologist living in the desert. When he arrives, Henry isn’t home. The servant, Gosling, says he was invited to some unexplored ruins. Medford waits for his friend’s return.

“A Bottle of Perrier”

The Snows of Kilimanjaro | Ernest Hemingway (9,200 words)

On the African savannah, a man’s leg is rotting with gangrene. His wife tries to comfort and encourage him. As he waits for death, he thinks about his life.

“The Snows of Kilimanjaro”

Parson’s Pleasure | Roald Dahl (9,300 words)

An antiques dealer works a con to buy valuable items from unsuspecting country dwellers. On one trip, he makes the find of his life and tries to get it for next to nothing.

“Parson’s Pleasure” (Pg 29)

The Country of the Blind | H. G. Wells (9,600 words)

Nunez, a mountain climber and adventurer, falls during a climb and ends up finding a village in a nearby valley. The inhabitants have been blind for generations. Nunez has found the legendary Country of the Blind, and, as a sighted man, believes he will rule this people.

“The Country of the Blind”

The Legend of St. Julian the Hospitaller | Gustave Flaubert (9,800 words)

After Julian’s birth, his parents are given two prophecies – that he will become a saint, and that he will attain glory in a royal family. As a young man he is given a third prophecy, that he will kill his parents.

“The Legend of St. Julian the Hospitaller”

William and Mary | Roald Dahl (10,000 words)

A doctor approaches a dying man with the suggestion that he keep his brain alive in a tub. The dying man is considering it, but his wife is against the idea.

“William and Mary”

The Great Good Place | Henry James (10,300 words)

George Dane is a successful writer with much responsibility and work to do. Soon after he feels like he’s experiencing a rebirth into a great good place, somewhere charming and peaceful.

Read “The Great Good Place” (Page 224)

The Bruce-Partington Plans | Arthur Conan Doyle (10,900 words)

Holmes is bemoaning the caliber of crime in London when he receives a telegram informing him of an urgent visit from his brother Mycroft. A young man was found dead on the train tracks. He had on him the plans for a top secret government submarine; the most important pages were missing.

Read “The Bruce-Partington Plans”

A Simple Heart | Gustave Flaubert (12,100 words)

After an early romantic disappointment, Felicite is hired as a housekeeper by Madame Aubain. Her work is exemplary and she loves the Aubain children very much. When the daughter takes catechism lessons and her first communion, Felicite becomes involved in religion.

Read here

The Fall of Edward Barnard | W. Somerset Maugham (12,250 words)

Bateman returns from a trip to Tahiti and goes to see Isabel with news of his friend Edward. After becoming engrossed in native life and culture, Edward has decided not to come back even though he was engaged to Isabel.

Read “The Fall of Edward Barnard”

Amy Foster | Joseph Conrad (12,600 words)

A country doctor tells the narrator the story of a passive and dull woman, Amy Foster. She fell in love with a man from Europe who was shipwrecked off the coast of her town. The doctor tells the history of this man, including the isolation he endured due to the language barrier and how he was viewed as dangerous and insane.

“Amy Foster”

Disorder and Early Sorrow | Thomas Mann (13,100 words)

Professor Cornelius’s oldest children plan and throw a party for their friends. Economic times are difficult, but everyone tries to keep up good appearances. The professor is concerned about things that have changed such as his children, his profession, and art and the theater.

“Disorder and Early Sorrow”

Young Archimedes | Aldous Huxley (13,500 words)

A young English couple rent a house in Italy because it has a great view, and a local peasant boy, Guido, makes an excellent playmate for their own son. Guido is a gifted child, with an affinity for music, and a natural understanding of mathematics. The landlady wants to adopt Guido to mold him and make money from his talents.

“Young Archimedes” (Pg. 2222)

Sonny’s Blues | James Baldwin (13,750 words)

The narrator is a teacher in Harlem; he has managed to keep away from the bad influences around him. His brother, Sonny, is a jazz musician with a heroin problem. They haven’t stayed close over the years.

“Sonny’s Blues”

Bartleby, the Scrivener | Herman Melville (14,400 words)

An elderly, Manhattan lawyer tells the story of Bartleby, the strangest law-copyist he has ever heard of. After being hired, Bartleby does good work for a short time. One day, though, he is asked to look over a document, and simply replies “I would prefer not to.” This marks the beginning of a trend for Bartleby.

“Bartleby, the Scrivener”

Boule de Suif | Guy de Maupassant (14,450 words)

The Prussian army advances while the French army retreats. Ten passengers are given clearance to board a carriage and leave the city, with the possibility of crossing into England. Among the passengers is Boule de Suif, a prostitute who has to make a moral decision that will affect the whole group.

“Boule de Suif”


For more fiction that’s longer than a regular short story but shorter than a regular novel, visit Novel Recommendations—Novellas

I will continue to add novelettes or long stories to this page.