The case for short stories: 'How can you not be satisfied with this one perfect, delicious thing?'

'The Tower of the Antilles' by Achy Obejas
'The Tower of the Antilles' by Achy Obejas
Courtesy of publisher

Every week, The Thread checks in with booksellers around the country about their favorite books of the moment. This week, we spoke with Kathryn Harper, a bookseller at Housing Works Bookstore Cafe in New York City.

Kathryn Harper already had a book in mind to recommend to me when I called — and then, she picked up Achy Obejas' "The Tower of the Antilles."

She tore through it in two days, and changed her mind: She had to recommend Obejas' new short story collection instead.

The book features 10 tales set in Cuba and the U.S.

"It's amazing," Harper said. "I couldn't stop reading it. I love it."

As a resident of New York City, Harper spends a lot of time commuting, and short stories are the ideal companion.

"They're only 30 pages. How can you not be satisfied with this one perfect, delicious thing? Then, not only is it one, but you get ten. Ten different, interesting pieces that you put together," Harper said.

With Obejas, "every little story, even though they're short, [makes] you feel immediately immersed in whatever world she's creating for you. It's like 10 teeny-tiny novels."

One story in particular stuck with her: "Kimberly" is about a young college-age woman who sees another young woman "who is kind of troubled, down on her luck."

She invites the woman to move in with her and "all these weird things start happening," Harper said.

"It begins so differently than it ends. You have no idea what's going to happen."

Tower of the Antilles Tower of the Antilles

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