This book has 16 stories of widely variable quality. Now don’t get me wrong: there’s no sloppy work here. On the contrary, the author puts a lot of thinking into every sentence. However, at times it looks like he wants the reader to spend as much time pondering over every sentence. It’s all very literary but it does not flow: too viscous. Not my idea of a good short story. In general, not my idea of a good story.
An Island is the longest and least believable of the lot. Who on earth writes letters like these, especially to a loved one? It gets more compelling when the story is not exactly supposed to be believable, as with Charis or Doubles. In my view, Asylum and Strong Enough to Help are the best.