Short Stories About Life

These stories will feature characters coping with the uncertainties of life, as well as those contemplating their lives, and those experiencing dissatisfaction with life.

It also includes narratives that cover events that occur at different points in a person’s 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.

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Mr. and Mrs. Baby | Mark Strand

Bob and Babe Baby go thru their meaningless daily routine of getting up, eating, talking, and socializing.

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.

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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.

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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.

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Midair | Frank Conroy

Sean Kennedy is six-years-old when his absent father shows up to take him home from school. No one has a key so they climb in thru the fire escape. His father is manic. Eventually, some staff arrive from an asylum to get Mr. Kennedy. The narrative jumps ahead to future incidents in Sean’s life.

Subtotals | Gregory Burnham

The narrator gives us the current count on many things he’s done or experienced in his life.

Read “Subtotals”

The Life You Save May Be Your Own | Flannery O’Connor

An old woman and her daughter live on a run-down farm. The woman hires a drifter, Mr. Shiftlet, to do work around the place in exchange for shelter. She’s angling to marry off her daughter to him. He is trying to improve his life.

Read “The Life You Save May Be Your Own”