Day Two of National Short Story Week. Today’s recommendation is a story by a modern master of the form, Amy Hempel. The Collected Stories of Amy Hempel contains two many of my favourite stories to count. Probably simpler to just hand you the contents page as a list.

Today Will Be A Quiet Day, like all of Hempel’s work, is deceptively simple, layer upon layer of imagery and dialogue building to a subtle crescendo in the closing lines. It rates as one of my favourite stories of hers as it powerfully and acutely nails that feeling of pride and astonishment you get watching your children being themselves.

It also wins a prize for the best description of a glare in fiction:

The girl gave her brother a look you could iron clothes with.

Go read the story already.