TheNew Yorker is filled with many things, from contemporary news stories to literary criticism. What I want to focus on in this post are the short stories that are often published within the New Yorker which have been free for all to access. That is about to change. The New Yorker is planning on putting up a pay wall so that only people who have subscriptions or pay for web access can read these wonderful pieces of literature.
Personally, being left-leaning and open-source-friendly, I’m not too enthused that these wonderful pieces of literature which have been open for all are going to soon come with a price tag attached, but I do understand that to continue publishing the New Yorker does need to make revenue somehow.
If you’re broke like I am, that revenue won’t be coming from you, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy some of the wonderful stories that are to be found before the pay wall goes up. Below are some fantastic stories to be found on the New Yorker for you to check out before the summer is over.
The Cheater’s Guide to Love by Junot Diaz
The first novel I read by Junot Diaz was The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. Within that story, Diaz was able to create well-rounded, likable, and complex characters that jumped off the page and felt like too familiar to just be fictional beings. He has a great style that mixes family, history, politics, love, and tragedy in the way a conductor leads a full orchestra. The Cheater’s Guide to Love doesn’t fail to live up to Diaz’s talent.
Thank You for the Light by F. Scott Fitzgerald
While F. Scott Fitzgerald isn’t a contemporary author, this story sort-of is. While Fitzgerald is known for his novels like The Great Gatsby and The Beautiful and Damned, along with his short stories like The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Fitzgerald hasn’t put much out since his death in 1940. Thank You for the Light was published in 2012 by the New Yorker after it was rejected three times during Fitzgerald’s life. I’m not sure why it was rejected, because anyone who enjoys Fitzgerald’s other stories will love this one as well.
Midnight in Dostoevsky by Don Delillo
Don Delillo might be best known for his cult classic novel White Noise and his best-selling novel, Libra, but he’s also a pretty accomplished playwright. Delillo understands how the human mind works and creates a gripping story that explores the concept of truth. If you enjoy people-watching, you’ll enjoy the perspective offered by this short story.
Hand on the Shoulder by Ian McEwan
Ian McEwan is very good at breaking my heart. Thus far I have read two of his novels: Atonement and On Chisel Beach. McEwan knows how to create a narrative that weaves itself around a reader’s heart and mind, which is dangerous for us, his readers, because he’s also very good at misleading the heart and mind once he has them ensnared. McEwan’s stories always have a compelling human aspect that leads to a bigger social or political statement pertaining to the world around us, and I appreciate him, and this short story, Hand on the Shoulder, for those reasons.
War Dances by Sherman Alexie
I’ve been a fan of Sherman Alexie’s short stories for a long time. The first short story I read by him was What you Pawn I will Redeem within the New Yorker, and since then I’ve read collections of his short stories, like Ten Little Indians. Alexie is great at making people laugh at and think about the current society we live in through a marginalized perspective that is often overlooked by mainstream America. Alexie is a favorite of mine because I love to think, laugh, and seeing things from a different perspective.
Stone Mattress by Margaret Atwood
Atwood is a marvelous story teller. Not only is she one of Melanie Figueroa‘s favorite authors, she’s an award winning author. With novels like Handmaid’s Tale, it’s no wonder she’s a favorite of many and an author with over 19 awards listed after her name. Stone Mattress, like many of her short stories, novels, and poems, is written in a way that makes the narrative feel completely naked and human before the reader while delivering a strong, thoughtful message for the reader to take away. I feel that her narrative does a great job in engaging readers and helping them internalize her social and political insights through the raw and irresistible nature of her narrative.
This is just a small sampling of the many stories available. For now, you can access the New Yorker‘s archives for free, as long as you subscribe to their website with your email. I encourage you to take advantage of all of these wonderful pieces of literature while you can.