5 Brilliant Classic Short Story Writers You Should Read

Almond Press publish a variety of short stories, so I thought I’d take a look at some classical short stories that everyone should read.

Edgar Allan Poe – The Imp of the Perverse and The Tell-Tale Heart

Poe personifies the desire to do the wrong thing in any given situation. Similar to the allegory of having an angel and devil sit on your shoulder and feed you thoughts. The Imp would be the devil. This short could almost be confused for an essay in the way it is written but Poe then looks further into this impulse in other shorts. The Imp of the Perverse sees the narrator murder a man and reap the benefits of his death but he remains guarded for the rest of his life. One of my other favourites by him is The Tell-Tale Heart. It explores the urge to kill an old withering man who distresses his living companion, the narrator, to such this extent. Having killed him the man is haunted by the loudness of the old man’s “tell-tale” heart when the authorities come looking that he confesses.


Angela Carter – The Bloody Chamber

This is a particularly horrific tale about a young woman who marries a wealthy man but soon discovers him to be perverse and murderous. When she enters the bloody chamber and discovers the bodies of his previous wives, he attempts to kill her but she escapes and lives on. Carter has the perfect combination of horror, thrill and naivety personified in her writing and is a perfect example of a well structured short narrative.


Katherine Mansfield – Bliss

One of her shorter stories Bliss explores the desire of a house wife who has felt unloved and dispassionate for such a lengthy period of time that she can no longer recognise her own feelings when they surface. Unfortunately for her, her husband doesn’t feel the same and she becomes devastated to learn of a secret right in front of her eyes. The short also looks into the theme of motherhood as Bertha also has a little girl whom she dismisses to her nurse because she’s too wrapped up in her own emotions.


Fyodor Dostoyevsky – A Gentle Creature/ The Meek One

The story originates from a news report in 1876 of a seamstress committing suicide. Dostoyevsky wrote about the relationship between a pawnbroker and a girl who likes to frequent his shop. It recounts the sort of their love and troubles, the narrator’s shameful departure from his regiment and eventually leads to the wife’s suicide due to their disagreements. This short is a good example of a cyclical narrative as we begin the story knowing that his wife is already dead but not how.


Ray Bradbury – The Illustrated Man

My final choice is actually a full collection of 18 short stories. Bradbury uses this science fiction collection to explore the ideologies and nature of mankind. Some particularly interesting shorts in this collection are: “The Last Night Of The World” and “Zero Hour”.

You can see more from Emma over at Howling Reviews.

Emma Petfield
Latest posts by Emma Petfield (see all)