I used to think I was someone who didn’t really like short stories. I mean I used to think that back when I was a dumbass, which I’ve obvs recovered from. Now when I look back I realise how very many short stories really affected me and held onto me over the years. Stories in books with scrawled writing of admiration beside them, or stories I can still vividly remember despite not having ever possessed a hard copy of my own.
I think nowadays I am aware of the form’s tremendous potential for exploring blur, ambiguity and mood, for fucking with our heads, and almost betraying us as readers, in a way that would be difficult to do over the length of a whole novel. We allow a short story to mess with us. The shortness lets us both play, and also be played with. It can take a misreading and make it almost the entire subject of the tale. And over recent years, reading with a group who have no particular skills beyond basic literacy, I see that when a story really grapples with these kind of things brilliantly, it can take even the least experienced reader far, far from where they started, without requiring any more investment than an hour.