I wasn't much of a short story reader before I began blogging and I'm not sure if it is the blogging itself that has made me take the leap into this genre or more so the great recommendations I get from reading other bloggers experiences with short fiction.
I first read about Perfect Lives over at Dovegreyreader and her review tempted me to pick up my own copy of this collection. Unlike Dovegreyreader though I greedily read through these stories one after the other - I just couldn't bring myself to put them down and leave the English seaside village.
Perfect Lives reminded me a lot of Olive Kitteridge in terms of its structure - it is a collection of short stories but all of the stories are based on characters living in a particular village in the English countryside so that a peripheral character you meet in one story might become one of the main character's in another story and so on so that there is an interwoven community of characters and story lines created.
My favourite stories of the collection were the first story in the book, "The Egg", whose revelation part way through actually made me gasp out loud and "Ivan Knows" which focuses on a little boys infatuation with and adoration of his babysitter. But having chosen favourites I now feel sad for the other stories that did not get chosen - as they were so very wonderful too and certainly not lacking in detail and emotion. I think with short stories in particular there is a strong instinctual feeling about what you connect with as a reader - there is a such a skill in being able to capture and hold the attention of your audience in such a brief period. I will now be going back to find Polly Samson's first short story collection - and hope that she writes another one very quickly!