Crushingly Sad

Is there some literary rule that says a significant short story must be crushingly depressing? I just finished “National Book Award Finalist” Adam Haslett’s You Are Not A Stranger Here and I was glad to crawl out of the gloom. Don’t get me wrong. He’s a fantastic writer. The first story in the collection: Notes to My Biographer, has a great voice. The narrator is a this goofy older relative that we’ve all had a run in with at least once and he gets nuttier by the page. But overall the stories were so sad, mentally ill or generally troubled people trying to manage. It reminded me of Lorrie Moore’s Birds of America which I liked mostly. But I read it while I was at the writers conference from hell so I was already not in the best head space and one of the stories. I wish I could find the book, I’d tell you more but since it’s not in my room I’m guessing I drop kicked it across the garage or something. One story was so completely depressing I felt like throwing myself out the window (I was staying in hotel room on the 14th floor). And this reminds me that I was checking into a hotel room last night in my dream and trying to see if Holly Hunter wanted to be roommates.

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