These stories will feature characters coping with the uncertainties of life, as well as those contemplating their lives, and those experiencing dissatisfaction with life.
Paris 1991 | Kate Walbert
Rebecca and her husband, Tom, go to Paris to conceive a child. Rebecca thinks often of her mother, Marion, who died a few months earlier.
A Simple Heart | Gustave Flaubert
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.
A Boring Story | Anton Chekhov
Nikolai Stepanovich is an aged, renowned medical professor. Despite his success, he’s unsatisfied; his heath is poor, he’s annoyed with his family, and sick of the conversation of his associates.
The Beast in the Jungle | Henry James
John Marcher meets up with May Bartram, a woman he had met on vacation ten years prior. They share a bond because she is the only person to whom he has ever confided his secret – he’s convinced that he’s destined to experience a monumental but disastrous event. They live close to each other and become good friends.
This is a novella-length story.
Janus | Anne Beattie
Andrea, a successful real estate agent, has a favorite bowl that she displays in homes she is selling. People viewing the homes sometimes like the bowl and ask where the owners bought it. Andrea’s husband doesn’t really care for it.
What I Saw from Where I Stood | Marisa Silver
A young couple is unsettled and uncertain about the future after the wife suffers a miscarriage and, months later, they’re the victims of a carjacking.
The Door | E. B. White
A man is touring a house. He is confused about the location of the doors in the house, and compares his situation to rats that are experimented on.
This story is difficult on a first reading.
Subtotals | Gregory Burnham
The narrator gives us the current count on many things he’s done or experienced in his life.