10 Short Stories You Must Read in 2011 - Larissa Behrendt, Cate Kennedy, Caroline Overington, James  Bradley, James Phelan, Jessica Rudd, Charlotte Wood, John   Birmingham, Bill Condon, Miranda Darling
“10 Short Stories You Must Read in 2011″ is an interesting collection of Australian short stories. If I had to pick a theme, I’d say it’s about challenging life.

I picked up a copy at my local library … good karma to all fabulous local libraries … and dived in, searching for a story I wanted to review for the Australian Women Writers Challenge. All the stories are strong in their own fashion, and this is a nicely varied selection, but I decided to go with Charlotte Wood’s “Nanoparticles”.

A few things drew me into the story. Firstly the writing — although because I’m a woeful reviewer, it took me a while to realise it was the writing. I was simply and unconsciously enjoying wonderful sentences like “As if you didn’t need a brain, just a big wobbly heart, soft and pink and powdery as a lump of Turkish delight.” What I consciously enjoyed first up was the setting: the sheer frustrating boredom, the constraint, of a motor registry office. From there I was hooked.

The heroine, Lisa, is well-developed and her story arcs in two merging tensions: her thoughts and the physical communal environment. The resolution (without any spoilers) worked well for me. I could believe it and that believability is proof of the story’s strength.