DPL has chosen 50 Short Story Collections, one of many Core Collections at our library, that represent old classics and new masterpieces. We’ve already written about the weird in this core collection. In this blog I wanted to call out the short stories that have Colorado connections. However…have you heard the term “flyover state”? It appears these short-story authors flew right over our beautiful state. So I present to you:
Short Story Core Collection Colorado Connections, However Tenuous They May Be.
A Manual for Cleaning Women. Author Lucia Berlin taught in Boulder in the 1960s. She wrote about the “often overlooked world of work–in particular the low-prestige, low-paid work of nurses, cleaners, administrators and teachers...the autobiographical nature of the collection makes this a densely layered and rich reading experience” (The Guardian).
Close Range: Wyoming Stories, by Annie Proulx. Tales of loneliness, violence, and desperation, set in that other rectangular state to our north. Shortlisted for the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.
Welcome to the Monkey House, by Kurt Vonnegut, a diverse collection that is rich with the author’s sense of humor. The father of former mayor and governor John Hickenlooper befriended Kurt Vonnegut while at Cornell. The famous author became friends with young Hick, and for a 2004 roast of then-Mayor Hickenlooper Vonnegut joked that he was Hick’s real father.
Probably the most-tenuous Colorado connection in this core collection is 20th Century Ghosts, by Joe Hill. Joe is Stephen King’s son…you know, the guy who writes Colorado as the setting for his epic novels such as The Stand and The Shining. 20th Century Ghosts won the Bram Stoker Award for Best Fiction Collection and the British Fantasy Award for Best Collection.
The final book I highlight is 100% Colorado: Sabrina & Corina, set in Denver and Southern Colorado and written by Denverite Kali Fajardo-Anstine. Her book is a “Latinx version of the American West” (electricliterature.com) with “eleven achingly realistic stories…that bear witness to the lives of Latina women of Indigenous descent trying to survive generations of poverty, racism, addiction, and violence…a nearly perfect collection of stories that is emotionally wrenching but never without glimmers of resistance and hope” (Kirkus Reviews). A National Book Award finalist, a Story Prize Finalist, longlisted for the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Short Story Collection, and a Kirkus Best Fiction book of 2019.