Confronted with the task of reviewing this dazzling vastness of fiction, I chose to dodge the impossibility of adequately analyzing each piece. Suffice it to say, this is a selection of the best that contemporary literature offers us. Redemptive, suffocating, searing, illuminating, unsettling, haunting, memorable – pick an adjective; perhaps the only one that would not apply is comfortable. These stories inspire, and for a writer of fiction, intimidate. Here we find humanity in its uncomfortable, awkward and transcendent whole. These stories are the magnifying mirror of our souls. In these pieces, birth, death, failure, and transformation are always with us.
No, the short story is not dying, but it is mortal. As readers, we can support the vitality of this unique art that encapsulates all that we are, or we can allow it to fade with neglect. In the end, our art informs us, and our art defines us. The stories of a civilization are its record, outlasting the individuals, even paintings, statues, and monuments. We are remembered through our words.