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I am one of those who believe (and have often said) that writing a good short story is more difficult than writing a good novel because a short story writer has to create believable characters and plots wholly within the limited number of pages he allows himself to get the job done

That is why it is always such a welcome event when a favorite novelist of mine decides to join the ranks of short story writers, or in the unusual case of graham swift, returns to that genre after an absence of almost thirty years

Swift's england and other stories is a remarkable collection of twenty-five stories about people who, regardless of their age, have reached a point in their lives where regret and self-doubt are something they confront every day

These are all new stories (written, i'm guessing, within the amount of time it would normally have taken swift to produce his next novel), and taken as a whole they present the diversity of a country that is all too often confined to its stereotypes in the minds of foreigners

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