I have been reading short stories and more short stories. Of these were two large Australian collections published by Scribe.
I was surprised by their homogeneity.
Only three stories stood out for me: one by the master, Cate Kennedy. Two by Sunil Badami.
I am not a careful or informed reader, but I don't think that I could recall what most of the other 60 or 70 stories were about: no doubt this is a reflection on me, not on the writers, whom I could see were very skilful.
In the Atlantic, Tim O'Brien wrote ".. writing workshops, in which I've noticed, almost always to my alarm, that classroom discussion seems to revolve almost exclusively around issues of verisimilitude." I gather that this why present tense is so ubiquitous: it was easy to project this comment onto the stories that I read. It was interesting to see in the author bio's how many had degrees in creative writing, or taught creative writing.
In contrast, I also read "Wonderful Town New York Stories from The New Yorker". They were wonderful stories indeed: rich, light, dark, heavy, funny, sad, wistful, dramatic, written in a range of styles and voices.
Of course they had an immense range of great and famous authors to select from, but what stood out was the intelligence and interest of the stories, even when the subject matter was slight. I want to read the collection again.
In the Australian stories, what stood out was the style.
This surely can't be A Good Thing?