Q: What’s the story no one else thinks is as good as you do?

A: “She Waits, Seething, Blooming” by Dave Eggers is a perfect capsule of a story. It is the thinnest sliver a short story can be, a perfectly defined cross-section of a character’s life. It’s so, so good because it’s so, so short: the story itself is complete, and has a definite arc over its tiny wordcount. But it contains multitudes, and you can absolutely sense the world before the story takes place and the world after. We never learn the main character’s name, nor her son’s, but we get such a perfectly shaped glimpse of her life that we don’t need to. I remember reading this story years ago and suddenly being convinced of what short fiction can do, and I reread it (it doesn’t take long to read again) a few times a year when I need to edit!


Michael Milne’s story “The Yarnball Woman” was
published on Friday, 14 September 2018.

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