In praise of the short story

An interesting point is made in the introduction to the Penguin Classics collection of Russian Short Stories that points out that Russian literature has an appreciation of the short story that is not as widely held in Western literature.

“Russian literature probably includes more great short stories than the literature of any other European country. There is no major Russian prose-writer who has not written short stories, and many of Russia’s finest prose writers wrote chiefly in this form.”

Short stories do seem to have a reputation here of being something that you do early on the journey to writing a novel. They crop up in supplements and places like Granta magazine but it is a shame that they are not taken more seriously because in their own way they are something more difficult than a longer novel where you get much more pages to spend setting out the characters and the locations. I’m looking forward to reading some of these Russian stories and the first lunchtime post will come shortly

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