Introduction

This is the anthology I would give to myself, if I had lost all my memories of reading. These stories are ones that make me gleeful and uproarious, that enchant me and make me squirm. They would remind me what a short story can do, and make me hungry to read all the other great stories in the world. Which I could then make into new personal anthologies, to give to myself should I ever lose all my memories of reading…

All these stories are entertaining – some in a more cane-twizzling, top hat-tipping manner than others. At least one of them I would call ‘fun’, which would not be to belittle that story. They are all serious in their own way, but they are also sometimes funny, sly, or irreverent – sincerity can be tiring. These are not the ten best stories I have ever read, but they are the ones I would want in that anthology, when I open my amnesiac eyes and reach for a book, wondering what could be inside it.

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