Introduction

It’s not immediately clear what unifies these stories. In terms of genre, style, theme, they are all over the map. It’s only my experience of them that is consistent, one of being completely engrossed, of finding in each work both profundity and entertainment (the latter not to be underrated, in my opinion, no matter how lofty your literary aims!) And as a writer, each story alerted me to the breadth of possibility in fiction. I think, too, these stories all contain an element of mystery that keeps them in the reader’s mind, always offering up more for excavation, never exhausted. The mystery of what lies buried deep inside us, for instance, or of what drives us to create, or of the eerie connections between seemingly disparate events, or of the darkness that surfaces, along with overwhelming love, when we become parents. Per the epigraph to Robert Aickman’s story collection, Cold Hand in Mine: “In the end it is the mystery that lasts and not the explanation.”

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