Our friends from the Emirates Literature Foundation share three short story collections you need to read… 

We all find ourselves struggling to start, let alone finish novels at times. In celebration of Short Story Month, the team at the Emirates Literature Foundation has put together three short story collections to help you get rid of your reader’s guilt and feel accomplished.

 Picnic in the Storm by Yukiko Motoya

 Picnic in the Storm by Yukiko Motoya

Yukiko Motoya has a special gift of taking ordinary people and transforming them into delicate peonies, buff bodybuilders, and straw men.

If that does not entice you, how about witnessing gruesome fights to the death as men are challenged by their lovers against the backdrop of rural Japan? Perhaps you would be interested in an agony aunt’s suggestion that a lonely woman form a relationship with a bicycle seat; after all, does its shape not resemble a human face? You may even be tempted to put on your detective hat as you try and uncover a lively town’s mysterious disappearance cases.

This collection of short stories by the winner of Japan’s most prestigious literary prize, the Akutagawa Prize, is sure to leave you in a surreal frenzy and longing for closure.

I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream by Harlan Ellison

I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream by Harlan Ellison

Delve into a dystopian future with its very own intergalactic circus featuring specially gifted performers out of an X-Men movie in its glory days, a city of Light where only beauty is allowed to exist, and an A.I. seeking revenge for its imprisonment in the form of eternal damnation over the human race.

This sci-fi short story collection by Hugo Award-winning author, Harlan Ellison, is for those who have ever wondered what a Super Mario Bros. meets Beauty and the Beast story set in the afterlife would look like, as well as fans of giant mindreading ant-like creatures alike.

Asleep by Banana Yoshimoto

Asleep Banana Yoshimoto

Warning: Banana Yoshimoto’s melancholic writing may send you wandering in the interval between dream and reality.

Yoshimoto’s main characters are all young women trying to navigate their relationship with sleep. Whether struggling with the loss of a loved one or losing themselves, there is a sense of triumph as they all begin to move on by the end of each story. With subtle supernatural elements in the shape of ghostly apparitions and haunting secrets this collection is surely to leave you wanting more of Banana Yoshimoto.

If you liked these suggestions from Shurooq Kamal, the Emirates Literature Foundation’s Programme research officer, check out the Emirates Literature Foundation’s Boundless Book Club podcast for more recommendations from the team and in-depth chats with the authors of the books you love. For news, reviews, and all things book-ish, check out the Emirates Literature Foundation blog, and subscribe to their YouTube channel where new author interviews and Festival sessions are released regularly.