Leela Devi Panikar’s latest collection is out, full of tales written with sensitive restraint.
There’s little doubt that the short story is having “a moment”. Of course, many great novelists have also been known for their short stories: think of James Joyce or Jean Rhys, Gabriel García Márquez or Clarice Lispector, and in our own day, Haruki Murakami or Jhumpa Lahiri. But writers who have made their names through the short story, who have claimed the form as their own, have received much less acclaim – until recently. The evidence for a sea change is compelling. In the last few years, supreme short-story writers like Alice Munro, Lydia Davis and George Saunders have won a succession of prestigious literary prizes. The short story is no longer regarded as the poor relation of the novel. Its practitioners are no longer viewed as lacking “ambition”.
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