Short Story Centre

Best Short Stories of The Decade 2010-2020

We’ve come to the end of another decade in reading – a decade that was populated by the finest of the stories.

Now’s the time to honour the best of the short fiction – for these are going to be the stories that’ll be read in the years to come.  

For this article, I’ve gathered for you an impressive array of stories that can teach you about hope, remind you how intrinsically meaningful your life is, and why it can be too beautiful to give up. 


1) “Birds In The Mouth” by Samanta Schweblin 

Samantha Schweblin’s short story ‘Birds in the Mouth’ was initially published as a Spanish-language collection and later translated in English. 

The narrator is a father who worries about his 13-year-old daughter’s mysterious appetite for eating live birds. The story explores the boundary between eerie and mundane. 

‘Birds in the mouth’ reminded me that violence and uncanny isn’t always associated with ghosts, aliens, or zombies. It can also be something we see every day – something related to the known world.


2) “The Graveless Doll of Eric Mutis” by Karen Russell

The Graveless Doll of Eric Mutis focusses on a group of teenagers who come across a scarecrow tied to a tree. The scarecrow looks frighteningly similar to a young boy they used to bully. 

The story has such a gripping premise; I was hooked from the first paragraph to the last. It is fast-paced. It creeps you out, leaves you on edge, and makes you wonder what hidden motive the scarecrow has. 


3) “The School” by Donald Barthelme 

‘The School’ is narrated in the first person by Edgar, an elementary school teacher. It’s a fable that makes a reader think about the wrong customs and contradictions of our society. 

As a reader, I found Barthelme’s story funnily dark. It’s a classic escalation story that intensifies as it goes. It has a theme of innocence, mortality, curiosity, fear, uncertainty, and reassurance. 


4) “The Swan as Metaphor for Love” by Amelia Gray 

Amelia’s story is precisely what the title suggests. The author dismantles all the misconceptions people have about the romantic abilities of swans and makes us believe they are an apt metaphor for love.  

The story is full of oddly-phrased and precise details that open up avenues of questions and thoughts. 


5) “The Bastard” by Patrick DeWitt 

The protagonist ‘Bastard’ is a con-man who is motivated by bragging rights and money. He can become whoever he needs to be. His specialities are confidence, intuition, and research. He is a bad boy who turns out to be a much more interesting character as the story builds up. 


6) “The Dark Dark” by Samantha Hunt

The Dark Dark is a story of being a woman, of becoming someone else, of being a parent, and realising that you’ve lost yourself. The Dark Dark talks about a female body and how it keeps transforming itself and turning into endless new versions. 

Samantha is a masterful storyteller with a distinctive writing style. She is an imaginative creator, an eccentric writer, and a candid storyteller who makes far-flung scenarios unblinkingly real. 

There are a lot of other exceptional short stories that belong to this decade. But I have stuck to the ones that are close to my heart. But I’d like to know what you guys have read and loved in the past decade. So don’t forget to leave your short story recommendations in the comments section.

(2) Comments

  1. hi there, your style is so good.Following your articles.

    1. Thank you Lorretta.

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