Brian Aldiss, award-winning author, recommends

(CLASSIC: first published in Winter’s Tales, Putnam UK)

Dinesen is a brilliant writer, and this story is about a family of cottagers who give themselves up to vagabondage, drink, gambling, illegitimate children, and suicide, as some can be managed without breaking the law.

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(MODERN: from The Collected Stories of Deborah Eisenberg, Picador USA)

Eisenberg is a witty American writer, who seems to know instinctively how awful but funny men can be. Here is the final sentence of this story:
“ And I remember so clearly that moment, standing there astride my suitcase, with part of the photograph of Robert in each hand, my legs trembling and my heart racing with a dark exultation, as if I’d just, in the grace of an instant, been thrown wide of some mortal danger.”

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