A couple of years ago Sarah Hall and Peter Hobbs edited a brilliant anthology for Faber entitled Sex and Death (2017). In addition to stories by both editors it has work by Ali Smith, Courttia Newland, Kevin Barry, Yiyun Li, Guadalupe Nettel, Alan Warner and other contemporary voices. Faber publicity sums up the theme as How we come in, and how we go out. Indeed. What else is there? I would recommend Hall and Hobbs’ book to all lovers of the short story, but the theme itself cannot be exhausted in just twenty stories, so I’ve made my own selection here. Some of these stories are about sex, most are about death, some are about both.

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