The daylight and the dust: selected short stories by Janet Frame is the latest Virago Modern Classic (number 552) and was kindly sent to me ahead of its publication by Sophie from Virago. I've come across Janet Frame before - her autobiography was also republished by Virago this year, and I wrote about it here, and here. So it is interesting to have the chance to peruse some of Frame's stories.
The back-cover quotes Frame: "I'm a short-story addict, both reading and writing them, and I always keep hoping for the perfect story". This belief is certainly evident in this new book; the stories contained within it are taken from the four collections of stories that Frame wrote over her life, and it's a difficult collection to sum up. The stories range in length, from a couple of pages to about ten, they range in theme from childhood, to old age, and the locations are as far apart as Frame's native New Zealand and London. I was expecting there to be more on the theme of "madness", reflecting on Frame's journey through mental illness, but perhaps not focussing on this was part of her method of escapism? Anyway, there are certainly some wonderful stories in the book, although as usual I struggled with such bitesized works of literature.
The volume is ably introduced by Michele Roberts, who has her own volume of short stories out this month, also published by Virago. It's called Mud, and although not a short-story lover, I did enjoy dipping in and out of this collection which also cover a wide range of topics, but primarily from a female perspective. Michele Roberts is also one of those authors who one feels should be part of the Virago Modern Classics list so I would certainly recommend looking out for this one too.