There was a conversation bouncing around our reading room the other day. It happened just after Alice Munro’s Nobel Prize for Literature was announced and it went a little something like this: THE SHORT STORY IS EVERYTHING RIGHT NOW. And isn’t that the truth. In addition to Munro’s win for her lifelong contributions to short literature, George Saunders’ short story collection “Tenth of December” was nominated for a National Book Award and short story writer Karen Russel was awarded the MacArthur Genius Fellowship. As a publisher of short fiction it felt like a lovely breath of fresh air. This was a bout of significant validation.
Then we opened our eyes and ears to some recent developments in publishing which applauds the longer form. Specifically the publication of Donna Tartt’s long-awaited 771 pp novel, “The Goldfinch” out just last month and the Man Booker Prize winner, 834 pp, “Luminaries” by Eleanor Catton. Then there’s the recent splash in publishing made by debut novelist Garth Hallberg whose 900 pp novel, “City on Fire” caused a massive bidding war and earned him an advance by Knopf of nearly $2M.
So who wins? Of course it’s ridiculous to pit two excellent and very fulfilling forms against one another, but it does beg the question: which do you read more often? Who reigns supreme? Let us know in the comments.