Short Story Bashing

“I used to feel for years and years and years that I was very remiss not to have written a novel and I would question people who wrote novels and try to find out how they did it and how they got past page 30.”

- Alice Munro

I had a blog post written and ready to go, but it’ll have to wait. I’ve just read a review of Johanna Skibsrud’s new short story collection, and it’s got my goat.

“At best, a short story collection can stave off demand until the next novel while also helping to keep an author top of mind in the literary marketplace,” says Megan Powers.

At best? At best???

The short story is a different art form from the novel, as is the novella, poetry, the young-adult novel, the children’s picture-book, and flash fiction (narrative works under five-hundred words). To say that a literary form different from the novel is “at best¬†blah-blah-blah” – in other words, comparing apples to jellyfish – is degrading, patronising, short-sighted, and, in the case of a widely-read review, likely to influence readers away from reading anything but the venerated novel.

Or jellyfish.

Enough, already, of the short story bashing.

Categories: General.