The Best Recent Stories: The Results

Posted by @ 8:01 am on March 26th, 2012

A little while ago, I asked you all to name “the best story that you’ve read in the past few years.” I deliberately didn’t define “best.” After the jump, I’ve compiled what you said …


  1. The results are in reverse chronological order, then alphabetical order by author’s first name.
  2. I’ve also included links when I could. Otherwise, you’re going to have to Google/buy a book.

OK, here are the stories!



  • Adam Peterson’s “It Goes Without Saying” (in Camera Obscura #3)
  • Alissa Nutting: “She-Male” (from Unclean Jobs for Women and Girls)
  • Ashley Farmer: “Digging Deep” (in kill author #15)
  • Anthony Luebbert: “Bobby Kennedy and His Sea Lion Sandy” (in Quick Fiction)
  • Ben Lerner: “Leaving the Atocha Station” (from Leaving the Atocha Station)
  • Casey Hannan: “Piano Hands” (in PANK)
  • Charles Dodd White: “Winter by Heart” (in PANK)
  • Colm Toibin: “The Street” (in McSweeney’s #36)
  • George Saunders: “Home” (in The New Yorker)
  • Hannah Voskuil: “Currents” (from Sudden Fiction Youth)
  • Jeremy Robert Johnson: “Persistence Hunting” (from We Live Inside You)
  • Jon Trobaugh: “L’Anguille” (in TRNSFR #4)
  • Kirsty Logan: “Underskirts” (in PANK)
  • Leslie Bazzett: “Screen Test” (in New England Review, V. 32, #2)
  • Mary Stone: “We Will Plan Big Things” (in kill author #15)
  • Mike Meginnis: “The Navigators” (in Hobart #12)
  • Nathaniel Rich: “The Northeast Kingdom” (in McSweeney‘s #38)
  • Pinckney Benedict: “The Beginning’s of Sorrow” (from Miracle Boy and Other Stories)
  • Scott McClanahan: “any story in Stories V!”
  • Ysabel Sex: “Fuck Coolhunter” (I looked for this but couldn’t find it, sorry.)


  • Aimee Bender: “The Color Master” (in Cincinnati Review and from My Mother She Killed Me My, Father He Ate Me)
  • Allyson Armistead: “Oasis” (in eight cuts)
  • Amanda Goldblatt: “If Your Light Must Leave You” (in The Collagist)
  • Angi Becker Stevens: “The Opposite of Free” (in Wigleaf)
  • April Ayers Lawson: “Virgin” (in The Paris Review)
  • Deborah Willis: “Remember, Relive” (from Vanishing and Other Stories)
  • Elaine Castillo: “Graphy, or The Girlhood of Achilles” (in PANK)
  • Heidi Julavits: “Multiples of Cohen” (in Harper’s)
  • Ingvar Ambjornsen: “Another Star” (in McSweeney’s 35)
  • Jennifer Egan: “A Visit from the Goon Squad” (from A Visit from the Goon Squad)
  • Matt Bell: “Dredge” (in Hayden’s Ferry Review #45)
  • Rachel B. Glaser: “The Monkey Handler” (from Pee on Water)
  • Roxane Gay: “Do You Have a Place For Me” (in spork)
  • Roxane Gay: “La Negra Blanca” (in The Collagist)
  • Seth Fried: “Those of Us in Plaid” (in McSweeney’s #33)
  • Stepen A. Dixon: “Wife in Reverse” (in matchbook)


  • Amina Cain: “Black Wings” (from I Go to Some Hollow)
  • Sam Pink: “Saved by the Bell” (in Titular)
  • Steve Almond: “Donkey Greedy, Donkey Get Punched” (in Tin House)
  • Ted Chiang: “Exhalation” (in Eclipse Two)


  • Brian Van Reet: “The Rooster” (in Shenandoah vol. 58 #1)
  • Glen Pouciau: “Claim ” (in The Paris Review)
  • Jill McCorkle: “Magic Words” (in Narrative Magazine)
  • Kyle Minor: “They Take You” (in Pilots With Guns #3)
  • Mary Ruefle: “A Half-Sketched Head” (from The Most of It)


  • George Saunders: “Puppy” (in The New Yorker)



  • Brian Evenson: “Mudder Tongue” (in McSweeney’s #16)
  • James Salter: “Last Night” (from Last Night)
  • Jeremy Robert Johnson: “Swimming in the House of the Sea” (from Angel Dust Apocalypse)


  • Chuck Palahniuk: “Guts” (in Playboy)
  • Brian Evenson: “Moran’s Mexico” (from The Wavering Knife)
  • David Foster Wallace: “Incarnations of Burned Children” (from Oblivion)


  • Sherman Alexie: “What You Pawn I Will Redeem” (in The New Yorker)

older stuff

  • Spencer Holst: “Brilliant Science” (from Brilliant Science, 2000)
  • William Gay: “The Paperhanger” (in Harper’s, 2000)
  • Joshua Ferris: “Mrs. Blue” (in The Iowa Review V. 29, #2, pp. 34–46, Fall 1999)
  • Ken Kalfus: “Pu-239” (from Pu-239 and Other Russian Fantasies, 1999)
  • Gene Wolfe: “Tracking Song” (in The Island of Doctor Death and Other Stories, 1997)
  • Greg Egan: “Crystal Nights” (from Crystal Nights and Other Stories, 1997) (PDF)
  • A.M. Homes: “A Real Doll” (in Barcelona Review, 1990)
  • Gene Wolfe: “Seven American Nights” (from Sailing to Byzantium/Seven American Nights, 1989)
  • Barry Hannah: “Testimony of Pilot” (from Airships, 1974)
  • Stephen King: “Cain Rose Up” (in Ubis, 1968, and from Skeleton Crew, 1985)

+ there was a vote for “Blake Butler’s coming of age story in an airport shuttle filled w/ doe-eyed clergymen”

Now go enjoy!