Introduction

In short story, as in fiction at large, I am attracted to testimony and witnessing: the slow and sincere witnessing of ruin and ruination, of violence both real and uncanny, of what goes on within the hidden, private, and often startling recesses of our complex psyches. I am attracted to unsentimental and bare prose, to clean and bony sentences, to plot which is strung tightly and confidently, without pretence, without calling attention to itself.
 
My personal anthology is personal to me. These are not the twelve best short stories I have read. They are not even alike, ranging from texts of some historical significance to ones that are just irreverently funny. These stories don’t share a theme, place, style, mode, form, genre, or address—the stock that makes anthologies possible. Mine is an anti-anthology, for as I have argued elsewhere, anthologies can often function like walled, exotic gardens, and really the only way to encounter a short story is in its great historical wilderness.

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