Black reminds us just what a short story can do. If you write short stories, this collection might make you weep: it’s that tight. If you don’t write short stories, this collection might make you weep: it’s that tight. There are moments in these stories that halt you in your tracks, that scream until breath is gone and all you can think is, damn, nailed it. These stories make you uncomfortable, in a good way. These are affairs and illnesses and lies that seem real because they are real: this is how people live; this is how people act. We need other people–sometimes more than we’re willing to admit. It’s a hard thing to confess: to say, “I need you.” Need is sometimes stronger, and more complicated than love. Certainly more dangerous. These stories, like life, are full of changes–wanted and unwanted. Leaving is sad; even just the illusion of leaving is sad. In some ways, every choice these characters make represents a loss of some kind–the leaving of something known for something unknown. But not all of this is sad–Black redefines loss as something that’s necessary, even freeing, and that to deny loss is to deny the opportunity to really live.
Many thanks to Andrew Scott: Andrew’s Book Club, for recommending this collection.