In which we exclaim: So short, so short!
I’m not a big fan of short stories in general, but I have just devoured Kate Atkinson’s Not the End of the World, despite thinking after the first couple of stories that «This is the sort of book to dip into, it’s far too rich to do justice to all of it at once.» Well, perhaps I did not do justice to it. I suspect I will have to reread it at some point.
Though they stand perfectly well on their own feet, the stories intertwine, and so to some extent I suppose there is something to be said for reading the whole thing as a book rather than one story at a time. The richness comes from the balance – or, at times, deliberate confusion – between what we would normally recognise as reality and something else, something not quite defined, or indeed, definable. It’s rather refreshing to see an author so cheerfully ignoring the rules of probability and realism within the confines of «contemporary fiction» rather than the genre-specific conventions of «fantasy», for example.