Stone Mattress: Nine tales
Bloomsbury, $35.99 hb, 268 pp
One swallow doesn’t make a summer, as the stark proverb cautions, but a cockatoo flocking of short stories suggests that the form is perhaps enjoying a revival – and the publishing industry has seized an opportunity. As it should.
In 2013, Alice Munro won the Nobel Prize for literature, lauded as ‘the master of the contemporary short story’. Edna O’Brien’s The Love Object appeared in 2013. New collections by luminaries Hilary Mantel (The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher) and Margaret Atwood have followed in 2014. And for aficionados of the form, there was the splendid brick (733 pages) of collected stories by the quirky American virtuoso of the form, Lydia Davis (do read her – she’s extraordinary), anticipating a trend when it was published by Picador in 2009.