WE OTHERS : NEW AND SELECTED STORIES by Steven Millhauser

Steven Millhauser won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1997 for his novel Martin Dressler. I’ve long been a fan of his writing, most notably his short stories (some of which are quite long). We Others: New and Selected Stories collects together eight new tales, alongside 15 others gathered from his previous 30 years of being published. If you’ve never read Steven Millhauser before, this is a perfect place to start.

Millhauser’s prose is precise and controlled, lacking in melodrama, alive with a wondrous sense of illusion. These stories blend the uncanny with the mundane, all written in Millhauser’s distinct style, which on occasion can seem remote, and yet at the same time make the magic feel all that more awesome. The sensory elements are vivid and evocative. Thematically the stories can sometimes come across as repetitive – almost like a musical refrain – but Millhauser explores them with such conviction that it’s impossible not to allow oneself to be drawn into the anxieties and emotions.

While not every story worked for me – something that’s symptomatic with most short story collections or anthologies – the ones that did work, which was the majority of them, easily elevate this book to such that I would consider it a worthwhile addition to the genre of weird/uncanny short fiction. Highly recommended.

Rating: 5 out of 5.
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