Short stories by Sheila Kohler

Sheila Kohler was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, the younger of two girls. Upon matriculation at 17 from Saint Andrews, with a distinction in history (1958), she left the country for Europe. She lived for 15 years in Paris, where she married, did her undergraduate degree in literature at the Sorbonne, and a graduate degree in psychology at the Institut Catholique. After raising her three girls, she moved to the USA in 1981, and did an MFA in writing at Columbia. In the summer of 1987, her first published story, “The Mountain,” came out in “The Quarterly” and received an O’Henry prize and was published in the O’Henry Prize Stories of 1988. It also became the first chapter in her first novel, “The Perfect Place,” which was published by Knopf the next year. Knopf also published the first volume of her short stories, “Miracles in America,” in 1990. Kohler has won two O’Henry prizes for “The Mountain” 1988 and “The Transitional Object” 2008. She has been short-listed in the O’Henry Prize Stories for three years running: in 1999 for the story, “Africans”; in 2000 for “Casualty,” which had appeared in the Ontario Review; and 2001 for “Death in Rome,” a story which had appeared in The Antioch Review. “Casualty” was also included in the list of distinguished stories in The Best American Short Stories of 2001.

Listing 3 stories.

A girl witnesses her loyal childhood servant succumb to the demands of her sister's abusive husband.

When a mother of three children visits her home country of South Africa for Christmas, her depression at how her life has failed her renders her neglectful, putting both her eldest child and sister in irreparable danger.

After a teenage girl comes home to East Hampton from her fancy Connecticut boarding school, she finds in her new step-mother an unexpected ally who helps her to navigate her relationship with her father and exact revenge.