Review by The Mole
I have to admit that I am a fan of short stories. When you read a novel you generally expect a rounded story that leaves you with that sense of loss, of wanting more and "missing" the characters now the story is over. Although when it's a serial murderer perhaps you expect the opposite? With a short story you expect to have to reflect on threads that have been left hanging - did you see everything? are there gaps you need to fill in yourself? You actually expect to have to complete some of the story yourself.
It wasn't always the case though. This collection of short stories goes way back through literature and starts with the story of Jonah. It's not a retelling of the story but a lift from an an English version of the old testament. There will be a few who would contest the validity of including this in a collection of fiction - but that's a separate debate and somewhere I don't want to go - but it does remind the reader that story was not about a trip in a whale, in fact the whale hardly gets a mention.
The stories are listed chronologically according to the birth date of the author and the second story by Miguel de Cervantes jumps forward nearly 2000 years to 1547. The Deceitful Wife is a rounded story told in reflection by the deceived husband.
No author features twice in this anthology of 100 tales but with authors as diverse as Nikolai Gogol, Charles Dickens, DH Lawrence, Katherine Mansfield, Richmal Crompton, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Roald Dahl, Kate Atkinson and Joanne Harris so many favourite authors are included that this book has something for everyone and perhaps a finding of new authors as well.
This is a book for lovers of the genre and I admit now to not having read them all - yet! I have read many from the early part of the book (including authors I have never read before including Nikolai Gogol), a few from the middle and some from the end. While the end shows the styles at their very modern best (The Deep by Anthony Doerr is sublime by the way) the earlier styles are still as enjoyable as they ever were.
This is a collection that seems, to me, to fulfil the subtitle "100 Of The Finest Short Stories Ever Written" although I could easily swap many of these for others that I have read and it would still be worthy of the same title.
Publisher - Head Of Zeus
Genre - Short stories, adult fiction