Just what was needed for Christmas – a giant book (can you say, or in fact, hold up in bed, 816 pages?) of short stories. I know, your excitement is bubbling over. So it should.
Reading That Glimpse of Truth: The 100 Finest Short Stories Ever Written edited by David Miller is a bit like Russian Roulette but, you know, without the gun, bullet or possible deadness. But it is very exciting – I kept opening it at random and reading whatever story appeared; some were great, others were a bit ‘meh’, a couple were horrifying and shocking (yes, Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery, I am looking at you) and a few were very funny. I was pleased to re-read one of ‘our’ Katherine’s (Mansfield) which I had actually not read for 25 years – she is so good, I do wonder what she’d have done if she’d lived longer.
There is a great mix of authors, from all over the world, handily translated into English, basically covering the last two and bit centuries. Miller, in his intro, straight away tackles the questions about whose best short stories these are and lays out his unapologetic criteria for deciding these are his. He has made some unexpected, profound, moving, lyrical and clever choices and set the scene for some very enjoyable wrangling about who else should have been included and who should have been left out.
It is a great way to sample an amazing range of authors – a bit like a giant box of assorted chocolates. Yes, lets go with that enticing image rather than Russian Roulette…