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Short story – “Jacked” by Michael Cunningham

“Jacked” by Michael Cunningham is a retelling of the Jack and the Beanstalk story. It is from A Wild Swan and Other Tales by Michael Cunningham, and is available for free from the 4th Estate short story page.

This is an unusual short story because it doesn’t follow your typical short story form, except that it does, but in an unusual way (or unusual in my experience). He presents the story by ridiculing the characters. Jack is an idiot. His mother is an idiot for sending him to sell their last cow. The giant’s wife seems to want Jack to steal the gold, and the giant seems to be going along with his wife’s lies.

I liked this, because it was refreshingly different, and has shown me that a story does not have to stick to a rigid form, as many teachers of short story seem to demand.

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