The Best Australian Short Stories 2008: Delia Falconer (Ed)

Delia Falconer writes in her introduction to this collection, ‘most stories in Australia are written for pleasure, for the sheer joy of cutting loose.’ This is apparent in the twenty-six stories Falconer has chosen for this annual delight. Plots dive and dovetail with idiosyncratic characters and surprising situations. Each piece has a strong clear voice, and in many the language is sumptuous.

Some of the stories were commissioned by Falconer; some submitted for the anthology, and others chosen from journals and anthologies. Recognisable names include Frank Moorhouse, Deborah Robertson and our 2008 literary sensation Nam Le. Falconer states, ‘I did not want to be able to guess from the outset where a short story was going.’ The stories with the most power to surprise include Tony Birch’s ‘Gardening for Pleasure’ about a mentally ill man living in a residential unit, and ‘Turning off the Lights’, Anna Krien’s story of a daughter dealing with her father’s early onset dementia. Standout pieces from new writers include Rudi Soman’s ‘Crackers’ and Davina Bell’s ‘All the Things You Couldn’t Say’.