The newyorker is giving free access to their archives going back to 2007, and it inspired us to compile a short but hot list of must-reads for the rest of the summer. The website also has a new design that makes it easier to read long-forms like the ones listed below. Most of these selected stories are driven by rare, complex, sometimes unbearable, but always humane female characters; an issue we also talked about during episodes 16 and 32 of the podcast while discussing women anti-heroes on television.
So, here are the four short stories you should read for the summer—BGT approved!
Back in 2012, Junot Díaz published a short-story named Monstro in the sci-fi issue of the magazine. If you’ve read his interview “The Search for Decolonial Love,” you were probably intrigued by this story of “this fourteen-year-old girl, a poor, black, Dominican girl, half-Haitian—one of the Island’s damnés—saving the world.” Well, here it is and let’s hope this is a snapshot of something bigger to come.
You may have noticed we have a soft spot for Junot. This one recounts the tale of a young runaway Dominican girl trying to escape her mother’s stifling and abusive presence.
ZZ Packer ‘s “Drinking Coffee Elsewhere” was featured in the magazine’s “Debut Fiction” issue in 2000 and already showed the writer’s talent at painting awkward and nerve-racking situations with a biting voice. What stands out in this story is a rare and vulnerable portrait of a young black woman in denial—Dina, who must confront the inevitable experience of loss.
Read “Drinking Coffee Elsewhere”
There is an embassy oddly located in the suburbs, a maid named Fatou and a badminton game. From that place and around this character, Zadie Smith weaves an intriguing story given rhythm by a hypnotic badminton game. There is a distinctive sense of detail, unexpected characters and we love the idea of the importance of “imperfect knowledge” subtly advocated in the piece.
Read “The Embassy of Cambodia”
You can check out all the New Yorker short stories here.
Make sure to listen to our discussion on women and anti-heroes in the last podcast with Bim Adewunmi, as well as in episode 16. Comment, send us questions on Twitter, Facebook or Tumblr; we’ll gladly reply!