Short stories are sometimes seen as a poor relation to the novel, even though they are a complex art form in their own right, and can be very hard to do well. Munro has a fantastic style - she can fit the enormity of a novel into several thousand words. Her stories are rich and vibrant and satisfying.
|I love this collection, especially.|
Here's my own (possibly controversial) theory: readers are lazy. Why read short stories - with the characters and situations continually changing so you have to start from the beginning again every few pages - when you can read a novel? Indeed, why read a novel - knowing you'll experience that bereft feeling of leaving behind characters you've grown to love - when you can read a series and never have to say goodbye to those characters ever again?
A good short story will draw you in, hit you hard and leave you reeling for hours, or even days. A novel, by contrast, is a slow burner - it can amble and wander, the final punch can seem to be more of a playful slap.
There is surely a huge imbalance between the number of people not reading short stories yet entering short story writing competitions. These competitions are growing and growing. The prizes are growing and growing - the Bridport Prize, one that I've been entering for far too many years, has grown from a £1000 first prize to a £5000 first prize. Well worth entering, but how can people expect to write a brilliant short story if they don't read them?
To return to Munro for a moment, I discovered this article from Open Culture which links to twelve of her short stories, so you can read for yourself.
What was the last short story you read?
Did it hit you hard? Are you still thinking about it?
Do you have a favourite short story writer?