To read a collection of short stories in 2011 is to think about the nature of the most American of literary forms.
To read Don DeLillo’s new book, “The Angel Esmeralda,” his first short story collection, is to think that it’s past time, or perhaps the exact right time, for the short story to make the comeback it richly deserves.
Since the 19th century or so, the novel has been the unit of measure, the thing on which the art of fiction has been judged. To write great novels is to be seen as writing great fiction.
This is not to say the short story didn’t have its own vogue well into the 20th century.
Check out a New Yorker from the 1940s or 50s. There are multiple pieces of fiction in every issue. In. Every. Issue.
But authors love to complain, and rightly so, about the ever-shrinking market for short fiction. The novel is the unit; short stories are this other, smaller thing.
Read the whole thing at the link.