The Art of the Glimpse: Endlessly interesting selection of short stories

Book review: This wide-ranging collection features old and new Irish authors – with a few surprises

 Sinéad Gleeson  has edited a new collection of Irish short stories called The Art of the Glimpse. Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

Sinéad Gleeson has edited a new collection of Irish short stories called The Art of the Glimpse. Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

I imagine the work of editing this collection must have been both delightful and maddening. The need to choose precisely 100 stories is a challenge: they can’t all be of the same quality, so where to set the bar of literary quality? What other attributes matter, and how are they to be weighed?

The word “anthology” comes from the Greek for “flowers”, and 18th-century collections of stories and essays were sometimes called a “nosegay” or a “posy”, with the implication that the bouquet is more than the sum of its parts, that the art of the arrangement is the point of the volume. The stories must make a pattern, say together more than each says alone.

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