Hand drawn clock with text "fast fiction: books at 200 pages or less."

Fast Fiction

Fast, but not flash fiction, and often more than a novella, you can read these titles from cover to cover during a long afternoon or a flight to LAX.

CLASSICS CISNEROS

The House on Mango Street / Sandra Cisneros / 110 pages

This book tells the story of Esperanza Cordero, a young girl growing up in the Hispanic quarter of Chicago, whose neighborhood is one of harsh realities and harsh beauty. Esperanza doesn’t want to belong, not to her run-down neighborhood, and not to the low expectations the world has for her. Capturing her thoughts and emotions in poems and stories, she is able to rise above hopelessness and create a quiet space for herself in the midst of her oppressive surroundings. Also available as an ebook on hoopla.

FICTION BARNES
The Sense of an Ending
/ Julian Barnes / 163 pages

Follows a middle-aged man as he reflects on a past he thought was behind him, until he is presented with a legacy that forces him to reconsider different decisions, and to revise his place in the world. Available as an ebook and eaudiobook on Libby/Overdrive.

FICTION LIGHTMAN

Einstein’s Dreams / Alan Lightman / 179 pages

A fictional recreation of Einstein’s discovery of the nature of time follows the young Albert through 1905 Bern, Switzerland, as he sorts through the dreams that have persisted in his mind for several months.

FICTION NELSON

Open Water / Caleb Azumah Nelson / 160 pages

Narrated with deep intimacy, Open Water is at once an achingly beautiful love story and a potent insight into race and masculinity that asks what it means to be a person in a world that sees you only as a Black body; to be vulnerable when you are only respected for strength; to find safety in love, only to lose it. With gorgeous, soulful intensity, and blistering emotional intelligence, Caleb Azumah Nelson gives a profoundly sensitive portrait of romantic love in all its feverish waves and comforting beauty.

FICTION OFFILL

Dept. of Speculation / Jenny Offill / 179 pages

“The wife” once exchanged love letters with her husband, postmarked Dept. of Speculation, their code name for all the uncertainty that inheres in life and in the strangely fluid confines of a long relationship. She muses on the consuming, capacious experience of maternal love and the near total destruction of the self that ensues from it as she confronts the friction between domestic life and the seductions and demands of art.

FICTION ORWELL

Animal Farm / George Orwell / 113 pages

Animal Farm describes a revolution that takes place when the animals on a farm decide that they can run the farm better and more productively than the humans. Available as an ebook on Libby/Overdrive.

FICTION PORTER

Greif is a Thing with Feathers / Max Porter / 114 pages

In the wake of his wife’s accidental death, a man and his two sons are visited by Crow, an antagonistic trickster, protector, and therapist, who threatens to stay with them until they no longer need him.

FICTION YEHOSHUA

The Only Daughter: A Novel / Abraham Yehoshua / 191 pages

Rachele Luzzato is twelve years old when she learns her father is gravely ill. While her family plans for her upcoming Bat-Mitzvah, Rachele finds herself cast as the Madonna in her school’s Christmas play. These spiritual tributaries ultimately converge in Rachele’s imagination, creating a fantasy that transcends the microcosm of her daily life with one simple hope: an end to the loneliness felt by an only daughter.

FICTION ZAMBRA

The Private Lives of Trees / Alejandro Zambra / 98 pages

This Möbius strip of a story examines a single night in the life of Julián, a writer and professor, who is tending to his stepdaughter Daniela while they both wait for absent wife and mother Verónica to come home from her art class. The novel is short, but its author pours caution and tension into every line like the poet he is. The more time that passes in this long evening, the further away Julián’s mind wanders, imagining the life that Daniela will have as a popular psychologist, dreaming of the day that she reads his unfinished novel.

SCIENCE FICTION MCGUIRE

Every Heart a Doorway / Seanan McGuire / 173 pages

Children have always disappeared from Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children under the right conditions, slipping through the shadows under a bed or at the back of a wardrobe, tumbling down rabbit holes and into old wells, and emerging somewhere… else. But magical lands have little need for used-up miracle children. Nancy tumbled once, but now she’s back. There’s darkness just around each corner, and when tragedy strikes, it’s up to Nancy and her new-found schoolmates to get to the heart of the matter. This is the first book of the Wayward Children series. Also available as an eaudiobook on hoopla.

AI | May 2024