Notable Scottish and international short stories

Ali Smith and Ian Rankin are among the writers identifying their favorite Scottish and international short stories in an article about the second annual Scotsman & Orange Short Story Award. Smith’s picks:

Best Scottish: Jim Kelman’s “Acid”, only about 140 words long, about a man who’s fallen in a vat of acid and an old man who turns out to be his father comes along with a long pole and as he pushes him under he says “Sorry Hughie”. The whole story’s about acid, about being eaten away, kindness and harshness; not a word is wasted.

Best world: Grace Paley is the best short story writer in the world* and my favourite of hers is “Conversation with My Father” about an old man who is dying and having a row argument with his daughter – about stories, actually. Tying with that is Chekhov’s “After the Theatre”, only four pages long, about a girl who’s just come back from seeing Eugene Onegin, she’s just full of love and sadness and life.

* No argument here.


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