The short story form is the realm of perfection, proclaims Steven Millhauser in his 2008 New York Times essay, ‘The Ambition of the Short Story’, in which the ‘virtues of smallness’ are dissected, along with the successes and shortcomings of the genre. Jess Huon’s first short story collection, The Dark Wet, could be described in many ways, but ‘small’ is not one of them. Across three ‘sequences’, these nine stories cover much ground, not only geographically – they span from Melbourne to San Francisco to Varanasi, India – but thematically, too, exploring the confusion of falling in love with a best friend, the fuzziness at the edges of gender, the fluidity of religion or faith.
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