The blurb of this book says it all: 'Profound, lyrical, shocking, wise: the short story is capable of almost anything'. And, I have to admit, the short story is a form I neglect once too often. Yet, after dipping in and out of this anthology – which boasts the '100 finest short stories – I'm stuck here asking myself why this is. In truth, I could not love the short story form more.
A Glimpse of Truth offers such a vast array of tales from a plethora of different authors – including many of my favourites, like Virginia Woolf, Kate Atkinson and Angela Carter. And it's a book which has carried me through the Autumn nights; I mean, what's better than candlelit evenings spent curled up in your bed, with the scent of chai lattes thick in the air, and the prospect of so many adventures at your fingertips? That's right: nothing.
In this 946-page collection, where one page you can be reading about a toymaker who's plagued by imperfections and the next, a complicated and intricate piece about a hunger artist, there's a charming sense of unpredictability to the collection.
[The previously mentioned short stories are two of my favourites (out of the ones I've been introduced to so far). That said, I have a soft spot Lizzie's Tiger by Angela Carter and Lord Emsworth and the Girl Friend by P.G. Wodehouse. Not to forget two incredible Halloween reads: The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe and "Oh Whistle, and I'll Come to You, My Lad" by M.R. James.]
Whilst flicking through this collection, I also can't help but think of the word SERENDIPITY (n.) the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way. As I mentioned, each turn of the page results in a completely unpredicted tale; and, often, these tales are pleasant surprises. For me, short stories definitely evoke this sense of serendipity – they're little gifts that completely encompass the idea of 'short but sweet'.
Yet, more than anything, reading this short story collection has made me want to write. Most likely because of a) this exposure to such varied storytelling and b) the brevity of the short story is less daunting than the sheer length of a novel. So, I'll end on this note: if you need me, I'll be curled up in my bed, candlelit and scented with chai lattes, my book in one hand and my pen in the other.
Bookish Musings are unedited* rambles about certain books – often books I love dearly. Sometimes the posts have a point, sometimes the posts don't have a point till the very end, sometimes there's no point at all… but I don't know till I've finished writing it.
*Hopefully this explains a lot about the incomprehensibility
Are you a fan of short stories? Tell me some of your favourite collections to help last the Autumn/Winter nights! I'd definitely recommend this one.