(CLASSIC: from Selected Stories, Heinemann).
I could have named almost any Lawrence short story – here, as elsewhere, he takes us directly into the claustrophobia of the family home, where death hangs heavy over a wife and mother. Gritty and real, Lawrence’s fictional world is also a means to other ends, which are psychological, existential and even mystical. He was a master of the short story and the form forced him to kerb his flower-kissing, genital-naming excesses.
(MODERN: from In-Flight Entertainment)
The title story of Helen Simpson’s latest collection is darkly humorous, topical, honest and, ultimately, depressing. This is typical of her multi-layered, concise, Larkinesque explorations of life. In this story she looks at flying and death and climate change, but she is equally suggestive and sharp on domestic life, sexuality, childbirth and children.
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