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Rebecca Kanner: Short Stories Dwell In Possibility


photo credit: Sam Murphy via Flickr

What I love most about the short story is that you can do things that you can’t in a novel.  Especially the short-short.  Italo Calvino’s “All At One Point,” is one of my favorites.  Who would read a whole novel about the fact that all matter and creation used to exist in a single point?  But a book of linked stories that each takes a scientific fact and builds an imaginative story around it?  Sign me up.

While the story is short it must go to great lengths to make itself important.  It doesn’t have time for the conventions of the novel—there aren’t pages enough to make the reader fall head over heels in love with the characters.  Instead the language, the ideas, the plot of the short story have to dazzle, and quickly.  Urgently.  The short story is an affair, a quick fling, a one-night stand.  The short story dwells in the biggest of all worlds, that of possibility.

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About Rebecca Kanner

Rebecca Kanner is the recipient of a 2012/2013 Minnesota State Arts Board Grant.  Her stories have been published in numerous journals including The Kenyon Review and The Cincinnati Review.  Her personal essay, “Safety,” is listed as a Notable Essay in Best American Essays 2011.  She teaches “Crafting the Short-Short” and other classes at The Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis.  A novel tentatively titled, The Marked Woman, is forthcoming from Simon and Schuster/Howard Books.  For more info on classes and publications, check out

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