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What a difference a decade makes

Ten years ago the American short story was in decline. Now it is once again a vital genre

By Ruth Franklin   January 2012

Best American Short Stories 2011 edited by Geraldine Brooks and Heidi Pitlor (Mariner, £9.35)

Ladies and Gentlemen by Adam Ross (Jonathan Cape, £12.99)

The short story is an amuse-bouche: luscious, glittering, to be consumed in a single bite. It should be artfully conceived, but not so dainty that you can’t sink your teeth into it. It should restrain itself to the confines of its setup rather than spilling out messily over the edge of the page. Most important, it should satisfy the reader’s immediate appetites while making him or her hope for more. What it is not, in other words,…

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