These short stories all have second person narrators, in whole or in part. In this type of narration, it creates the impression that the “you” in the story refers to the reader, as well as a character in the story.
Second Person Stories
“How to Talk to a Hunter” by Pam Houston
You’re having a relationship with a hunter, spending many nights at his cabin. It’s December and his place is warmer than yours. You don’t question his politics, tastes or other relationships. Your future together is unclear. You get feedback from your friends.
This story can be read in the preview of Cowboys Are My Weakness: Stories.
“Girl” by Jamaica Kincaid
In this prose/poem hybrid, a mother gives her daughter some advice about how to behave, and on becoming a woman. (Summary and Analysis)
“Girl” is the sixth story in the Amazon preview of The Penguin Book of the Modern American Short Story.
“The Night” by Ray Bradbury
You are a child in a small town in 1927. You’re home with your mom. Your older brother, Skipper, is twelve and allowed to stay out later. When it’s almost nine-thirty, your mother wonders where Skipper is. After a while, she says you’re both going out for a walk.
“The Night” is the first story in the Amazon preview of The Stories of Ray Bradbury.
“How to Transform an Everyday, Ordinary Hoop Court Into a Place of Higher Learning and You at the Podium” by Matt De La Pena
It’s summer and school is over. You did well even though all you really care about is basketball. All your free time is spent practicing. You want to be even better next year, in high school. You overhear people talking about a high-level game that’s played in Balboa Park.
The beginning of this story can be read in the preview of the anthology Flying Lessons & Other Stories.
“The Effects of Good Government on the City” by A. L. Kennedy
You don’t want to break up with someone in Blackpool. You’re at your childhood home, at the beach. You don’t sleep anymore. It’s gradually revealed where you’ve come from.
This story can be read in the preview of Freedom: Short Stories Celebrating the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
“NPC” by Charles Yu
Your routine is to collect iridium near moon base six, have your lunch in the break room and see Carla there. One day you’re in the crease, even though you know you shouldn’t be. There’s lots of iridium, so you stay. There’s an incident that changes your life.
This story can be read in the preview of Press Play to Start. (51% in)
“Scar Tissue” by Tobias S. Buckell
Your “son” is going to be delivered tomorrow and you think you might have made a big mistake. You lost a forearm and a leg in a forklift accident at work. The money from this project will allow you to pay for the expensive regrowth procedure. Your “son” is a robot that will take six months to reach maturity.
This story can be read in the preview of The Best Science Fiction of the Year: Volume 6. (40% in)
“Emergency Skin” by N. K. Jemisin
You’ve been given every available improvement on the human design. You’re being sent on an important mission to the planet Tellus, the original home of the human species. It was abandoned due to full environmental collapse. Most of the population had to be left behind. Tellus will be barren and toxic. The journey will take years but feel like days.
The beginning of the story can be read in the Amazon preview.
“How to Be an Other Woman” by Lorrie Moore
You meets a man while waiting for the bus. He asks about the book you’re reading. You start going on dates—movies, concerts and museums. You become involved. He’s married.
Some of this story can be read in the Amazon preview of Self-Help. This collection has several stories in the second-person, including the following two.
“The Kid’s Guide to Divorce” by Lorrie Moore
A young daughter is visiting her mother. They watch movies and have popcorn.
“How to Talk to Your Mother (Notes)” by Lorrie Moore
The narrator covers events in the life of the protagonist starting in 1982 and working back to 1939. It relates significant moments with her mother, father, brother, and her interactions with men.
“Down to a Sunless Sea” by Neil Gaiman
A woman walks the docks in London as she has for a long time. You’re under an awning to get out of the rain. She sees you and starts talking about her son.
“Accident” by Dave Eggers
You get out of your car after a traffic accident which ruined a Camaro carrying three teenagers. You’re worried about how they’re going to react.
“Happy Endings” by Margaret Atwood
John and Mary meet. What happens next varies greatly. The “A” story has a happy ending. Story versions “B” through “F” go differently. We learn a lesson about plots and how stories end.
Most of this story is in third-person omniscient. It begins and ends with second-person.
Read “Happy Endings”
“Fever” by John Edgar Wideman
There is a yellow fever epidemic in late 18th century Philadelphia. Allen, an African-American, chooses to stay in the city to help Dr. Rush find a cure and treat the victims. Popular opinion among the white population is that the disease was brought to the city by black slaves.
This story has first, second, and third-person POV.
“The Harvest” by Tomas Rivera
A migrant farm worker takes frequent walks by himself. His fellow workers think he might be hiding money.
This story ends with a shift to second-person.
“Reality Check” by David Brin
You are prompted to perform a reality check. While processing this, you’re told a story about a mighty race that was alone in the universe and wondered why. They reached a crisis point and went extinct in 2174. The narrator occasionally checks in on your progress.
Read “Reality Check”
“Moving Pictures” by Charles Johnson
You’re in a movie theater waiting for the show to start. You think about the power of movies, and the status of filmmakers compared to novelists. We learn about your background, including a failed marriage and financial issues.
“Diem Perdidi” by Julie Otsuka
The narrator tells us all of the things that her mother can and cannot remember.