Success: Stories

normal_success_coverSuccess: Stories received the 2008 Washington Writers’ Publishing House fiction prize. This collection invites you into the lives of characters caught in an increasingly intertwined world, close to home and abroad. It’s a tour of the human experience from San Antonio to Bangkok, Scotland to West Africa. Exploring a human calculus of love, betrayal, and fantasy, this moving collection makes those dramas vivid with humor and life. Success: Stories was a finalist for the 12th annual Library of Virginia Literary Awards.

Read the Ink Q&A here and a review in Washington City Paper.


Praise for Success: Stories

“In 14 brilliant short stories, Taylor unpeels the lives and loves of ordinary people to reveal nuggets of extraordinary truths…Deceptively spare and absolutely unforgettable.” —Caroline LeavittDame Magazine

“Gritty dialogue, lean prose, layered plotting, and an eye for the perfect detail make these stories a satisfying and engaging read.”—Susan Muaddi Darraj, author of The Inheritance of Exile

“Straightforward prose that performs plenty of emotional and foreshadowing work, tight, convincing dialogue, and an eye for apt metaphors… [A]s strong as anything in the Raymond Carver playbook, without ripping off the minimalist master.” —Washington City Paper

“Fourteen superbly-crafted tales…that explore the most vital crises of existence, when human emotions—desire and isolation, suspicion and jealousy—boil over, leaving in their wake exquisite failure and a conflict that blooms in complexity every time the reader revisits it.”—storySouth

“[T]hese 14 lively tales…uncover gentle irony in the commonly held notion of a successful life.” —Publishers Weekly

“David Taylor has the amazing ability to put you there. In these stories he puts you in a rural Muslim village rife with deadly superstition, in a New Asian bureaucracy where even minor functionaries must maneuver in a minefield of rivalry and suspicion, in a Maryland racetrack clubhouse where a filial tragedy is written in a racing form. With precise, pellucid language and almost invisible craft, he lets you see and hear and understand what matters. Success: Stories rolls right by Success on the way to Major Achievement.” —David Bradley, author of The Chaneysville Incident, PEN/Faulkner Award winner

“Like all the best stories, the tales in Success challenge our assumptions and make us look again at what we thought we knew.” —Kate Blackwell, author of You Won’t Remember This

“Success: Stories is an imaginative collection, diverse and satisfying, filled with the unspoken realization that life is full of stories…The writing throughout is excellent, with convincing details…and dialogue that is crisp, real and direct.” —PeaceCorpsWriters

“A powerful, diverse collection. What makes it memorable are the vivid prose and subtle insights into characters struggling to make sense of or break free from the customs that shape our lives.” —Brendan Short, author of Dream City

“A book of fine stories.” —Richard Bausch, author of Thanksgiving Night, PEN/Faulkner Award winner

“The stories span the globe…but they are linked with the common truth that ordinary life is full of uncommon conversations, happenings, and revelations.” —Baltimore City Paper

Order the book directly from WWPH, from an independent book store near you (Politics and Prose is one in DC), or from these online sellers: PowellsAmazon or Barnes & Noble. Also available for Kindle and other ebook formats.

Visit IndieBound here to order online or in person from your favorite independent bookstore. See more reviews (and add your own!) on Goodreads.



More Short Fiction


  • That Red Vest – in The MacGuffin.
  • Lovely, Dark and Deep – in Gargoyle #61, Summer 2014.
  • Butterworth – in Barrelhouse magazine’s 2013 Beach Reads issue.
  • Bingo – in Washington City Paper‘s first Fiction Issue, January 2013.
  • In the Garden – in Arabesques.
  • May Day – in The Jabberwock Review.
  • Pelagro – in Eclectica, and in the anthology, Eclectica’s Best Fiction, Volume One.
    Buy the book. Reviewers call Pelagro a “tightly composed and satisfying story,… equally compelling in dealing with the complexities of one’s limitations and failures, within the context of a father and son relationship.”
  • Monsters – in Pindeldyboz. Named a Notable Online Story by Story South in its Million Writers Award.
  • Errand – in Eclectica. Named a Notable Online Story of 2004 in the Million Writers Award.
  • Trade Show – appeared in Wind, Issue 91.
  • Child Thief – in Potomac Review #34.
  • Bottle – in Zone 3, Spring/Summer 2002, if you can find it.
  • Electrolysis – in Main Street Rag, Summer 2003.