One of the finest collections of contemporary short stories I've read in a few years is Adam Haslett's You Are Not a Stranger Here. Oddly enough, the year I read it and carried on about it for weeks to my friend, Nancy Olson, she found it on a book exchange shelf in a hotel in Paris when we were staying there. She agreed that it was superb.
So it was with great excitement that she brought me a reading copy of his new book, Union Atlantic. I read it last week, and it in no way measured up to the beauty and poignancy of his stories.
Another of my favorite short story writers, who shall go unnamed for now, said that he loved writing stories, but had no desire to write a novel. At his publisher's urging, he is writing one. I wonder if this is what occurred with Haslett, that his skill lies in the short story form and he felt compelled, urged, coerced into writing a longer story. Just me wondering.
Maybe it is just that this book, the story and characters, were not to my liking. Others may read it and rave. I eagerly await the reviews.
I also read an oldie but greatie, Cowboys Are My Weakness by Pam Houston. I don't know how I've missed this short story collection but every story left me reeling. If that girl has done half the things she writes about in her stories (and how she could write so realistically if she hadn't?) she has lived an adventurous and dangerous life!
Here's my short stack for the next few weeks:
Read anything good lately?