Chilean novelist Roberto Bolaño once said that a short-story writer should be brave. His American compatriot Lorrie Moore said: "A short story is a love affair; a novel is a marriage. A short story is a photograph; a novel is a film." Fiction rock star Haruki Murakami spoke of his short stories being like soft shadows that he has put out in the world, faint footprints he has left.

Whichever way you see it, it’s undeniable that a truncated world of words is having its moment. Walk into any bookstore and you’ll be met with a barrage of short story collections. Even movie star Tom Hanks released his own compact compendium last year. And Kristen Roupenian, the author of Cat Person, The New Yorker short story about modern dating that went viral in 2017, is in on the act. She recently signed an astonishing seven-digit book deal — in US dollars no less — for her first collection of tiny tales. It will be called You Know You Want This and is set for release in 2019. This literary tren...

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