These stories contain commentary on writing or storytelling. They might blur the line between fiction and reality.
A Conversation with My Father | Grace Paley
A middle-aged woman talks to her bedridden father about tragedy in fiction and in life.
“A Conversation with My Father” is the second story in the Amazon preview of The Penguin Book of the Modern American Short Story.
A Continuity of Parks | Julio Cortazar
A man relaxes with a novel that he had started earlier. In it a woman and her lover are scheming against her husband. The man reading becomes immersed in the story.
Life-Story | John Barth
A writer thinks about what to do with his current work, questioning the nature of the prose he writes. Perhaps he is a character in one of his stories and his life is fiction.
Happy Endings | Margaret Atwood
In the “A” story, John and Mary meet, fall in love, get married, and live a happy normal life. Their story is told in five more ways, labeled “B” through “F”.
A Girl’s Story | David Arnason
A male writer describes the difficulty he has with his latest story. It’s about a beautiful woman sitting on a riverbank. He talks about his struggles with plot, symbolism, and avoiding stereotypes.
The Harvest | Amy Hempel
A woman gets hurt in an accident and relates what happened. She also tells us when she’s exaggerating certain details. Then she goes back and tells us what really happened.
How to Tell a True War Story | Tim O’Brien
The narrator tells war stories interspersed with commentary on story telling.