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Old 06-11-2017   #1
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Topic Nominated What is the saddest short story you've ever read?

Dean Paschal's "Death of a Street Dog" in his collection By the Light of the Jukebox, which describes precisely what the title states.



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Old 06-11-2017   #2
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Re: What is the saddest short story you've ever read?

Possibly 'Separate Ways' by Higuchi Ichiyo, but there is some competition.

"As the Director of one of the five greatest museums in our Eastern States has more than once remarked to me, From the Stone Age until now, what a decline!" - Ananda Coomaraswamy
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Old 06-11-2017   #3
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Re: What is the saddest short story you've ever read?

There are different sadness, so I would say:

Taman by Mikhail Lermontov (translated by Paul Foote)--the bitter and absurd type where I half-choked on laughter and tears

and

The Make-Up Artist by Nikolay Leskov (translated by William Leatherbarrow)--brutal tragedy and then more brutality

"So in the end it remains advisable to accept whatever comes, to behave like an inert mass even if one feels oneself being swept away, not to be lured into a single unneccesary step, to regard others with the gaze of an animal, to feel no remorse, in short to crush with one's own hand any ghost of life that subsists, that is, to intensify the final quiet of the grave still further and let nothing beyond that endure." ---Franz Kafka, Resolutions
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Old 06-11-2017   #4
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Re: What is the saddest short story you've ever read?

Georg Heym's "Jonathan." It's about a young man who experiences unrequited love while getting his legs cut off in a dingy hospital room.

"In a less scientific age, he would have been a devil-worshipper, a partaker in the abominations of the Black Mass; or would have given himself to the study and practice of sorcery. His was a religious soul that had failed to find good in the scheme of things; and lacking it, was impelled to make of evil itself an object of secret reverence."

~ Clark Ashton Smith, "The Devotee of Evil"
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Old 06-24-2017   #5
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Re: What is the saddest short story you've ever read?

Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Veech View Post
Georg Heym's "Jonathan." It's about a young man who experiences unrequited love while getting his legs cut off in a dingy hospital room.

Heym's short stories are great. My favourite story from him is probably "Der Irre" ("The Maniac"?). It's hard to believe that this story is more than a 100 years old. It reads like the screenplay for a Tarantino movie.


The saddest stories i've ever read are "Coco" and "The Donkey" by Guy de Maupassant. Both of them are online for free:
Coco--Guy de Maupassant (1850-1893)
The Donkey--Guy de Maupassant (1850-1893)

Oooh, so Mother Nature needs a favor?! Well maybe she should have thought of that when she was besetting us with droughts and floods and poison monkeys! Nature started the fight for survival, and now she wants to quit because she’s losing. Well I say ‘hard cheese.’
(C.M. Burns)
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Old 06-12-2017   #6
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Re: What is the saddest short story you've ever read?

I'm not sure about the saddest, but at least as far as horror stories go, one of them must be Des "Nemonymous" Lewis's "Welsh Pepper", which I read in a Year's Best Horror Stories book some 25 or so years ago. Opens with Beatles musings before detailing a solitary traveler's strange, tragic encounter in Arthur Machen country.

While we're on the subject of Beatles and Year's Best Horror Stories collections, a story called "John's Return to Liverpool" is up there as well (also discovered in a Year's Best Horror paperback--maybe even the same one as the Lewis story).

Who provideth for the raven his food?
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Old 06-12-2017   #7
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Re: What is the saddest short story you've ever read?

Chekhov's story, "In the Ravine," moved me to tears. The detective son who loses his faith, commits counterfeiting, and is sent to prison; his wife, who has her infant scalded to death by her sister in law yet carries on- horribly sad.
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Old 06-13-2017   #8
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Re: What is the saddest short story you've ever read?

Quote Originally Posted by Raul Urraca View Post
Chekhov's story, "In the Ravine," moved me to tears. The detective son who loses his faith, commits counterfeiting, and is sent to prison; his wife, who has her infant scalded to death by her sister in law yet carries on- horribly sad.
I realised I had it on my shelves so read it last night and this morning.

I was moved. It's a tale of much yuugen. Aksinia is a truly nasty piece of work.

"As the Director of one of the five greatest museums in our Eastern States has more than once remarked to me, From the Stone Age until now, what a decline!" - Ananda Coomaraswamy
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Old 06-12-2017   #9
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Re: What is the saddest short story you've ever read?

"The Biscuit Position" by Bernard Wolfe.
This is from Harlan Ellison's Again, Dangerous Visions anthology.
I am not going to set up unfamiliar souls with a gotcha moment.
This is an unpleasant and disturbing story.
There is also a family pet involved.
Animal lovers, fair warning.
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Old 06-12-2017   #10
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Re: What is the saddest short story you've ever read?

Short stories rarely leave me feeling sad mainly because the author doesn't have enough space to create characters you care about.

But Hodgson's "The Call in the Dawn" is one of the most unforgettable depictions of loneliness, isolation and terrifying Desolation I've ever read.
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