The December issue of the Atlantic features critic Benjamin Schwarz’s picks for the twenty-five best books of 2009. It’s an excellent list – an eclectic mixtures of novels, short stories, and nonfiction, the latter consisting primarily of works of history and biography. (Alas no genre fiction, but no surprises there.) Schwarz begins with his top five, followed by twenty additional runners up.
But wait – what’s this I see? In that list of the top five is a short story collection that I loved, by an author whose works I recommend at every opportunity:
Take the time to listen to the short interview with Schwarz: he packs a number of provocative observations into a discussion that’s under five minutes in length. Among other topics, he addresses the contention that we have now arrived at “the end of the history of the book.” (Got anything sharp I can slit my wrists with? No – just kidding…)
Schwarz calls It’s Beginning To Hurt “an almost perfect book.” Such a perceptive man!
After you’ve read these stories, you can then proceed to Lasdun’s two fine novels of psychological suspense: