For the past many years, Randy buys this year's edition of New Stories from the South for my birthday. I love southern fiction. There is just nothing like it. I love what Jill McCorkle has to say in her introduction to this collection:
Pain, sorrow, grief--isn't that what we really want to see, to experience and learn from? Who wants to read a story where everything is perfect and nothing whatsoever happens? It would be like an endless pile of those holiday brag letters where no one tells of the year's misfortunes and losses but only of brilliance and success and good times. Who wants to read such? Give me something that will break my heart. Make me ache. Make me laugh and weep simultaneously. Make me feel and care. That is what a story should do, and oftentimes a story is as much about what has come before as the situation at hand. There is history and nostalgia. There are regrets and losses. There are joys that in hindsight take on a different level of pain. Read a story that really works and you will find that dark taproot.
These are good stories. Nothing stands out as terribly memorable, but good, solid stories. I was sad when I came to the end and look forward to next year's installment.