The Elegance of Compression
Many of the best short stories convey the richness of a character's life in only a few pages. We'll examine four stories with narrative arcs that span their characters' lives, specifically considering how the authors use precise language and patterned structures, and how the stories "turn" rather than "close" to achieve complexity often attributed only to longer works. Writing exercises will be offered. Participants should come to class having read all four stories, which the instructor will provide before the first session.
“The Marburg Sisters,” Andrea Barrett
“Story of Your Life,” Ted Chiang
“Eight Bites,” Carmen Maria Machado
“Family Furnishings,” Alice Munro
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Kirsten Sundberg Lunstrum
Kirsten Sundberg Lunstrum is the author of three collections of short fiction, most recently What We Do With the Wreckage, which won the 2017 Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction and was published by UGA Press in 2018. Her earlier collections are Swimming With Strangers (Chronicle, 2008) and This Life She's Chosen (Chronicle, 2005). Her short fiction has been published in Ploughshares, McSweeney's, One Story, and North American Review, among other journals, and she has been the recipient of a PEN/O. Henry Prize. Kirsten teaches fiction writing at Hugo House and 9th–12th grade English at a small independent school near Seattle.