NYRB Classics collector. Reads anything, so long as it's good. Sometimes historian. Frequently grumpy: you've been warned. Also at aliceunderskies.tumblr.com.
This book is a perfect example for why I don't care for short stories: I read the first story, was overwhelmed with excitement at its dark, disturbing sadness, got extremely excited, and read the entire bunch in one sitting. One of two things usually happens to me when I read so many short stories in one go: either I become annoyed because they were good and I wanted more or I am annoyed because they were bad and would have been better if they were novels. Whichever the reaction, I'm also usually glutted & grumpy from consuming so many plots in a short period of time. Basically, any low short story score is probably my inability to read properly rather than the fault of the book. I can't remember which reaction tempered my score of this book. In retrospect, I have thought of it often, and not with negativity. Adrian is extremely dark, and I remember being unable to decide if it was gratuitous or not. He's an author to admire rather than love--I was curious about reading more of him even before he made the infamous "20 under 40" New Yorker list. He's certainly brave, and unconventional, and disturbing. All of this makes it hard to tell if he's actually good or not.