Shawn Vestal’s Top 10

Shawn Vestal’s debut collection, GODFORSAKEN IDAHO, was released in 2013. His work has appeared in McSweeney’s, Tin House and elsewhere. He said: It was awfully hard, once the choosing began, to choose just 10. I picked stories that expanded my view of the form when I first encountered them, as well as stories I find myself rereading repeatedly. I also omitted certain stories that I assume we all must love without reservation if we are to be decent human animals, such as Flannery O’Connor’s “A Good Man is Hard to Find” or Chekov’s “The Lady with the Dog. “Bullet in the Brain,” for obvious reasons, is structurally daring, and opened up my concept of how a story might manipulate the order of a life, and how boldly a voice could reach for omniscience. Each of my choices has that kind of a resonance for me.

1.“Bullet in the Brain,” Tobias Wolff 2.“Runaway,” Alice Munro
3.“Critique de la Vie Quotidienne,” Donald Barthelme 4.“Story,” Lydia Davis
5.“Reunion,” John Cheever 6.“Coming Close to Donna,” Barry Hannah
7.“The Hortlak,” Kelly Link 8.“San Francisco,” Amy Hempel
9.“Dearth,” Aimee Bender 10.“Fat,” Raymond Carver
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