It seemed natural to link three stories that became part of my first collection, Lying in Bed and after that I began to notice what a lovely hybrid the linked story collection is.
In the best short stories the action takes place off the page or between the lines. When character and mood carry the narrative small details become more significant and the past and present can exist together in a way that would clog longer fiction. Everything exists as some sort of clue to the person or the story and a good one lingers in the mind, deepening, darkening and revealing itself and its characters long after its ended.
What makes linked stories so pleasurable, I think, is that frisson of recognition when one character walks onto another character’s stage.
I didn’t set out to write a collection of linked stories but that’s the way the characters in Perfect Lives came out, emerging from the wings and insisting on their moment in the spotlight. Here are some favourite linked story collections:
Daniel Kehlmann: Fame
Elizabeth Strout: Olive Kitteridge
Melissa Bank: A Girl’s Guide to Hunting and Fishing
Judith Hermann: Alice
Alice Munroe: The Beggar Maid: Stories of Rose and Flo
Here's a selection of keyword-matched articles that you might also find interesting: