Many critics, when trying to praise a short-story collection, will say that it has the heft and scope of a good novel. But for me, one of the highest compliments you can pay a novel is to say that it has the rich texture and eloquent detail of a good story collection.
Something often neglected in popular accounts of the Wild West is the extent to which its dramas were colored by the politics and personal resentments left by the Civil War.
Let's start at the very end: The postscript of Stephen King's 'On Writing' contains some of the most harrowing pages he has ever written. It's here that King describes the traffic accident that nearly killed him in June 1999.
Lionel Essrog, the twitching, barking, gabbling narrator of Jonathan Lethem's new novel, 'Motherless Brooklyn,' is no movie-of-the-week novelty grafted onto a noir mystery. Maybe his Tourette's is a gimmick, but it's a gimmick with depth, with soul.
The Illinois Constitution was written before they realized they'd have a city the size of Chicago in the state. The constitution had severe limits on the ability of any city to raise monies through taxes and bonds. When Chicago grew explosively, they had to come up with ways of getting more money to do more things.
Future historians trying to determine what it was like to be alive in fin de millennium America should read the last two decades of O. Henry and Best American short-story collections.
When it comes to jump-starting the intricate machinery of recollection, there's nothing more effective than the scent of approaching death.