Short Story Month: Borges to Barthelme | Book*hug Press

Short Story Month: Borges to Barthelme

Our Short Story Month continues with two highly immersive, darkly humorous collections that exist in the eye of the storm: Anecdotes by Kathryn Mockler and The Lightning of Possible Storms by Jonathan Ball. In a style of writing that manages to be both surreal and prophetic, Mockler and Ball build worlds out of the darkest reflections of our existence – its Black Mirror for book lovers.

Read these if you like writing that is present, exciting, critical, and reminiscent of the works of Jorges Luis Borges or Donald Barthelme.

Anecdotes by Kathryn Mockler

Anecdotes by Kathryn Mockler

With dreamlike stories and dark humour, Anecdotes is a hybrid collection in four parts examining the pressing realities of sexual violence, abuse, and environmental collapse.

Absurdist flash fictions depict characters such as a park that hates hippies, squirrels, and unhappy parents; a woman lamenting a stolen laptop the day the world ends; and birds slamming into glass buildings. One-liners from overheard conversations, found texts, diary entries and random thoughts respond to the absurdity and pain of the current political and environmental climate. Autofictions follow a young protagonist from childhood to early 20s, through the murky undercurrent of potential violence amidst sexual awakening; from first periods to flashers; sticker books to maxi pad art; acid trips to blackouts; creepy professors to close calls. The Past and The Future are personified as various incarnations in relationships to one another (lovers, a parent and child, siblings, friends), all engaged in ongoing conflict.

These varied, immersive works bristle with truth in the face of unprecedented change. They are playful forms for serious times.

Anecdotes will be released September 19, 2023!  Head to our online bookstore to pre-order your copy!


The Lightning of Possible Storms by Jonathan Ball

Aleya’s world starts to unravel after a café customer leaves behind a collection of short stories. Surprised and disturbed to discover that it has been dedicated to her, Aleya delves into the strange book…

A mad scientist seeks to steal his son’s dreams. A struggling writer, skilled only at destruction, finds himself courted by Hollywood. A woman seeks to escape her body and live inside her dreams. Citizens panic when a new city block manifests out of nowhere. The personification of capitalism strives to impress his cutthroat boss.

The more Aleya reads, the deeper she sinks into the mysterious writer’s work, and the less real the world around her seems. Soon, she’s overwhelmed as a new, more terrifying existence takes hold.

Jonathan Ball’s first collection of short fiction blends humour and horror, doom, and daylight, offering myriad possible storms.

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