I was oddly disappointed in this. Not in the quality of the writing, which is superb. The author sets out to accomplish a task, and the technique of writing is bent and twisted to her will, achieving her vision exactly as her mind's eye must have seen it. My complaint is simply with her intended effect. I didn't enjoy it. So it's great writing, but I didn't care for the message. She was such a profoundly unhappy person, tormented by life's whims, being a women in the times she lived, the spectre of depression in an age without silver ribbons, and the cliched but never unfailingly tragic alcoholism she shared with so many of her profession. You can taste all this like a metallic spoon in the soup of her craft. For some, this will tinge it with naturalistic realism. For me, even sadness can still hold the promise of eventual hope. But you won't find it in these stories.