I don’t like reviewing short story collections.
Until recently, I thought that was because I preferred my fiction a little longer — I read far more novels than short story collections and have far more novels than short story collections in my library. Therefore, I must like novels better than short stories.
But recently, I discovered this wasn’t the case. I read more short stories than novels (which figures because novels generally take a long time to read; I think of short stories as something I will read in one sitting). I just don’t always read them in books. The problem isn’t the content, but the form.
While a novel is a book, the natural and ideal form of a short story is a few pages. When you staple them together and put them between covers you have something other than a coherent book-length narrative. You shouldn’t approach a book of short stories the way you approach a novel — you needn’t read the stories in the order they are…