Shakespeare’s Kitchen, Lore Segal (2007)Read about another collection on the list.
One of the prominent recent movements in short-story collections has been to create books of interconnected short stories, the better to lull readers into thinking they’re reading a novel. (See, for instance, Elizabeth Strout’s Pulitzer-winner Olive Kitteridge.) Lore Segal’s Shakespeare’s Kitchen actually almost succeeds at this task. While all the stories are recognizably stories in their own right, the characters are so vivid, and the events so interrelated, that readers get a fuller sense of both the characters (a bunch of snobbish intellectuals) and the setting (upper-class Connecticut) than would normally be the case in a work like this.
Best story: “The Reverse Bug” pits Segal’s often vacuous characters against the question of great evil, of what might cause a people to commit genocide. The original version won an O. Henry prize.
The Page 99 Test: Lore Segal's Shakespeare's Kitchen.