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The Best Small Fictions 2016

(Best Small Fictions Series)

4.38  ·  Rating details ·  86 ratings  ·  29 reviews
This second installment of The Best Small Fictions continues to celebrate the diversity and quality captured in fiction forms fewer than 1,000 words. Forty-five acclaimed and emerging writers—including Alberto Chimal, Toh EnJoe, Kathy Fish, Amelia Gray, Etgar Keret, R. O. Kwon, and Eliel Lucero—offer readers “some of the brightest concise writing available today” (NewPages ...more
Paperback, 148 pages
Published September 6th 2016 by Queen's Ferry Press
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4.38  · 
Rating details
 ·  86 ratings  ·  29 reviews

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Aug 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This second edition of The Best Small Fictions was exciting to read; I'm more and more a fan of this form. So much can be said so effectively, so well, in a relatively small amount of words. The emotional level can still be high, the suspense taut, the landscape potentially scenic or menacing or intricate depending on the author's intent. I had a several favorite stories in this edition and they are all so different: one told from the viewpoint of a plant, one a sad story about a mother's comb, ...more
May 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
The Best Small Fictions 2016 edited by Stuart Dybek is the second annual collection of short fictions from around the world. Dybek is the author of five collections of short stories and two poetry collections. His awards include a Lannan Prize, a PEN/Malamud Award, a Whiting Award, a Guggenheim fellowship, and four O. Henry Awards. Dybek was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship in 2007.

Tara Masih, the series editor, has won multiple book awards as editor of The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Writing
Jul 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Just about everything I wrote in my review of The Best Small Fictions 2015 holds true for the second installment of this annual series. Yet, the volume as a whole and the stories as individuals have a completely different feel to them than their predecessors do. That is no doubt influenced, at least in part, by the submissions themselves and by the final decisions made by a different guest editor. This is not to say one is better than the other: I feel the differences make each volume essential ...more
Diane Barnes
Aug 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
Some of these were great, some a little confusing, some I didn't really "get" at all. I admired most of them because short fiction seems harder to do well since economy of words is paramount. I couldn't read these quickly, since each story was packed with meaning in few words, and I could only read a 2 or 3 at a time. I will have to say that this is the first time I ever read a story narrated by a Venus Flytrap, and it was my favorite.

Thanks to the publisher for sending me this copy to read and
May 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
"Readers, don’t let the word 'small' throw you off. This year’s edition of The Best Small Fictions redefines the word with writing that towers above the rest." --NewPages

"The Best Small Fictions 2016 lives up to offering the best in the field. All the stories in the collection offer the reader something unique. . . . These stories show that there is much more to a short fiction than being a 'small' story. It is a craft and an art that shows that greater things can be delivered with fewer words."
(3.5) Best Small Fictions 2016 collects 45 super-short stories that stand out for their structure, voice, and character development—all in spite of often extreme brevity. Humor and pathos provide sharp pivot points. It helps to have an unusual perspective, like that of a Venus flytrap observing a household’s upheavals (Janey Skinner’s “Carnivores”), or of potential names gathering around a baptismal font (Alberto Chimal’s “The Waterfall”). Hard as it is to choose from such a diverse bunch, I do ...more
Kenny Chaffin
Jun 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
The Best Small Fictions 2016 guest editor Stuart Dybek series editor Tara L. Masih
(reviewed from an Advanced Reader's Copy)

I love flash fiction! I loved the premier release of The Best Small Fictions in 2015 and this is certainly a worthy follow-up. This time the guest editor is Stuart Dybek one of my all time favorite writers. There is definitely a bit of a different tone to this edition, a bit darker it seemed to me, many stories dealing with death and loss and disappointment. There are great
Sep 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm very honored that one of my stories is featured in this anthology. The stories chosen are of very high caliber. As I said of the 2015 edition, this anthology would be an excellent textbook for any creative writing program, especially any course that focuses on the flash fiction form. There are numerous finalist stories listed in the back of the book that I plan to check out as well. Highly recommend this collection!

Kelly Lynn Thomas
Aug 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is a fantastic collection of small fictions, and introduced me to many new flash authors I haven't heard of. I was also impressed with the range of journals represented here--it shows that there are, in fact, a good number of presses running excellent flash fiction (if you had any doubts).

The stories range from dark and creepy ("Milk Teeth" by A. Nicole Kelly; "Pitcher of Cream" by Caitlin Scarano) to the familial and domestic ("Healing Time" by Paul Beckman; "Reunion" by Megan Giddings; "T
Gene Brode, Jr.
May 19, 2016 rated it liked it
I received a free copy of this book for review from the editor. I would actually rate this 3.5 stars if possible on Goodreads. I am a reader and writer of fiction but I am by no means an expert in either. I have only been studying the flash fiction form for a couple of years and am much more in tune with the "standard" short story form (5 to 20 pages). I love flash fiction, but sometimes it goes right over my head.

While Stuart Dybek is a very well-respected author, I am unfamiliar with much of
Janey Skinner
May 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
Upfront: my story "Carnivores" is included in this collection, so I have a natural bias. That said, I was so impressed with the range and scope of the stories included in this collection. There were meta-fictions of the style I might associate with Borges, and stories of suspense. There were poignant portraits of characters at a turning point, and stories that read like poems. Some of my favorites: "Trifle" by Mary-Jane Holmes,"World's Worst Clown" by James Kennedy; "Healing Time" by Paul Beckma ...more
Sheldon Compton
Jul 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
So I've written a full review of this which can be found at Enclave. Here's an excerpt and the link:

"The Best Small Fictions series is officially two for two – it can boast the most important book published last year with BSF 2015 and the most important book published this year with BSF 2016. And as it continues to establish itself alongside such renowned series as Best American Short Stories and The O. Henry Prize Stories, this significance will not wane."
Feb 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-stories
lots of goodies here
J. Bradley
Oct 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
There's a great range of flash fiction in this collection and there's a lot to like. "Carnivores" by Janey Skinner is my favorite out of the entire anthology because of how original the POV is, how it makes new an overused trope in literary fiction (which I won't tell you what it is because it spoils the story). I'm glad these anthologies exist because flash fiction deserves to be held in the same regard as great poetry, great short stories, great novels.
Paul Beckman
Sep 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: readers and writer of flash and short stories
Recommended to Paul by: Tara
With each story read I thought, "this is the best" and thedy all turned out to be the best. Of course I have some favorites and there were no stories I didn't like. An exceptional collection and (full dissclosure) My story "Healing Time" is in this book.
Sep 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book is like a mouth full of pop rocks. The stories get inside you and explode. The best is truly represented here. The arrangement was perfect. How else should you end a flash fiction anthology but with Etgar Keret's "The Story Victorious"?
Oct 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Here we have a splendid variety of short-shorts, realistic, fantastic, prose poem-ish, stories.

This collection includes a healthy weight of surrealism. Some of my favorites include: "Carnivores" by Janey Skinner explores mothers eating their young, "A New Cycle" by Nathan Leslie where boys mysteriously live in a chamber filled with dogs, and "First Night" where a couple rents a home filled with snow.
And then some beautifully humorous pieces: "The Physics of Satellites" by Amir Adam where a docto
Katy Haas
Sep 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The word “small” often tends to denote something insignificant, something easily overlooked. The Best Small Fictions 2016, guest-edited by Stuart Dybek, completely obliterates that notion: there is nothing insignificant about these small stories. They boom and jump off the page, impossible to ignore.

Read full review at NewPages.
Meg Tuite
Nov 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is one collection not to be missed! Brilliant work! WOW! I savored each story and let each slowly melt on my tongue! Get a copy! This is a collection to be read in classrooms. Don't miss out on reading this exceptional anthology! LOVE!!! ox
Santino Prinzi
Jul 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I received an Advance Review Copy of The Best Small Fictions 2016. Review to be published at the Bath Flash Fiction Award. Rating to follow.
CT D'Alessandro
Apr 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
Shelves: flash-fiction
My reading of this book, as well as other flash fiction collections, is partly influenced by my desire to become proficient at this form. Ironically, I read this collection before putting my hands on the first volume, published in 2015.

As a reader, each story is a pleasure in itself. I loved picking up this book each time I had a chance to read because I experienced that thrill of wondering what I would read next with each story. The genre itself is fascinating because it encompasses a wide rang
Short Story Girl
Jan 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Exquisite Storytelling

I’m so happy this book of small stories is back for 2016! Every word is precise and it’s easy to see the pictures, to step inside. In that way, the smallest stories can have a giant impact and many of these deliver.

Among my favorites:
"Strawberry Festival," by Sophie Rosenblum, is a sensory delight, shoving our expectations against what we get. And as good small fiction does, it starts tiny and opens up to the great wide world.

"Parting," by Elizabeth Morton, goes to the ex
Nov 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: short-fiction
Another year, and another edition of The Best Small Fictions!

I've always enjoyed short fiction and, thanks to last year's compilation, I began to develop a new appreciation for microfiction--perhaps some of these stories could even be classified as nanofiction.

As with the previous volume, the stories were nominated by literary magazines, and the final selection was made by the guest editor, Stuart Dybek. In the Foreword, series editor Tara L. Masih notes a dramatic shift in the topics and forma
Dec 13, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: own
An overall enjoyable read useful for stimulating conversation about what makes small fiction successful. I'm beginning to question the use of the word "best," though; it's such a subjective term, and I'm finding more and more that it doesn't account for as much diversity in style, content, or form as one might like to see...
Nov 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
Great to see so many familiar names in here & some fabulous examples of what constitutes good flash fiction.
Kathi Crawford
Dec 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed the brevity of the stories contained in this book. There were many very good short fictions like "The Solidarity of Fat Girls" by Courtney Sender and "Carnivores" by Janey Skinner. Some of the stories, however, left too much out to get a good sense of the character(s) and/or point of view. And, this is the challenge of short fiction -- to develop the elements of fiction in under 1,000 words (character, plot, theme, point of view, etc.).

As a writer, I am exploring the short fiction genr
Pearse Anderson
Mar 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: anthology, fiction
A lovely little introduction to a community I've always seen at the periphery. This was a great resource to see who's IN and who's doing great work. But, y'know, not always amazing pieces despite being the Best Small Fictions. Best: "The Thing Built to Fly is Not a Promise," "These are the Fables," "In the Ditch, Minnesota I-35," "World's Worst Clown," and "Black." Wow! Thanks for existing, flash writers. And mags for taking their work and keeping yourselves going.
Catherine Moore
Jun 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
In the second installment of this series, Stuart Dybek serves as guest editor and as anticipated the collection brims with stories that nod towards the master storyteller’s use of imagery; this preference acknowledged in his introduction to the anthology, “whatever the type of piece, there’s an attention throughout to image.”

Like Dybek’s own work, these small fictions are breathtaking when small moments have larger meanings, or larger questions loom beyond the mere words presented on page. Like
Gerry LaFemina
Dec 29, 2016 rated it liked it
The problem with any "best of" anthology is always the question of "but what about..." that lingers. Dybek has done a good job collecting these short short fictions (though I might argue some of them are more prose poem that short short story), but many of them blur together, and few of the pieces truly linger. Still, this book is a great primer to the short short story, a genre fast becoming the new trend in short fiction.
Mark Wightman
rated it really liked it
Dec 24, 2016
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Flash Fiction: My review of The Best Small Fictions 2016 5 15 Jul 04, 2016 08:08AM  
  • The Best Small Fictions 2015
  • The Best Small Fictions 2017
  • A Peculiar Feeling of Restlessness: Four Chapbooks of Short Short Fiction by Four Women
  • Bear Down, Bear North: Alaska Stories
  • The World's Shortest Stories of Love and Death
  • Modern Manners for Your Inner Demons
  • Why the Devil Chose New England for His Work
  • 100 Great Fantasy Short Short Stories
  • Domesticated Wild Things and Other Stories
  • Gotham Writers' Workshop Fiction Gallery
  • Sudden Fiction International: 60 Short-Short Stories
  • The Brink: Stories
  • Flash Fiction Forward: 80 Very Short Stories
  • See You in Paradise
  • Micro Fiction: An Anthology of Fifty Really Short Stories
  • A Tree or a Person or a Wall
  • Insurrections
  • Better Times
Stuart Dybek has published three short story collections: Childhood and Other Neighborhoods, The Coast of Chicago, and I Sailed With Magellan; and two volumes of poetry: Brass Knuckles and Streets in Their Own Ink. He has been anthologized frequently and regularly appears in magazines such as the New Yorker, the Atlantic, Harper’s Magazine and the Paris Review.

He has received numerous awards, incl

Other books in the series

Best Small Fictions Series (4 books)
  • The Best Small Fictions 2015
  • The Best Small Fictions 2017
  • The Best Small Fictions 2018
“The sound of dogs howling from the next homestead over. But the space between our houses grows while I sleep. The forest around me deepens. The trees fall in love and multiply. The snow an intoxicant. I pray the pines don’t get bolder, that they don’t grow organs and hands.” 1 likes
“Moreno is a good doctor. He is also a prick. When I dislocated my shoulder last summer, he said, “Just relax big guy, I’ll reset it on the count of five. Close your eyes.” I felt the bone lurch back into place on “two.” 1 likes
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