I love both writing and reading short stories, so thought I'd share some recommendations of authors you might like too:
It’s such a shame that the writer Elizabeth Taylor’s name has to inevitably be followed by ‘no, not that Liz Taylor!’ If you’ve heard of the film star but not the author, then you’re in for a treat. Virago published ‘Dangerous Calm’, an anthology of her short stories, in 1995 and it’s still a stunner. Turn to ‘A Dedicated Man’ for a wonderful and oh-so-English little slice of life with its petty snobbishness and disappointments.
If you’re looking for a very English setting, try the wartime stories of MOLLIE PANTER-DOWNES. Published in a very tactile paperback by Persephone Books, with a cover painting by Evelyn Dunbar, this anthology contains 21 stories written between 1939 and 1944. They evoke that period, the uncertainty and shortages, the excitement or boredom. They’re like a black & white film on a Sunday afternoon, a world that seems as familiar as it appears distant.
The strange and peculiar stories of Judy Budnitz can unsettle you. They can be sly and sinister, and there are echoes of fairy stories (the European folk tale variety not the plastic Disney versions.) ‘Flying Leap’ and ‘Nice Big American Baby’ are two titles to look out for.
I’m not sure how easy this collection of stories is to find, but also worth a read is Mary O’Connell’s ‘Living with Saints’. Female saints such as Dyphna and Ursula feature in the lives of modern American girls. Sometimes magical, sometimes laugh out loud funny, at other times poignant, you don’t have to be Catholic, or even religious, to find these tales engaging.
Other writers you overlook at your peril are Daphne Du Maurier, Jean Rhys and the superb Alice Munro.
Any other recommendations would be gratefully received.