I have not yet read everything there is. So these sorts of lists cause me a degree of discomfort. Here are twelve stories which occurred to me. They were not chosen with any organising principle in mind. None that I am aware of in any case. Unless ….
I have the suspicion that there is something about a great short story that is entirely sufficient to the sliver of life spent reading it. You begin it at exactly the right moment, it fills you completely while you read, it makes the changes to you that the author intended – or even better, changes they could never have predicted – and it leaves you as you leave it, gone from each other entirely. Something has happened to you. But it has been so subtle and so quick that you have not noticed. The person who finishes the story is other than the person who started it. Necessarily, when this happens, the reading itself is forgotten.
So, here, maybe, are twelve stories that were not quite good enough.