When I decided to put a number of my recent stories together for a collection I naturally chose those which I liked best and seemed most compatible. But only when they were face to face in one room did it become clear that, different as they were in so many of their individual characteristics, they all had this special family trait in common, the fruit of my persistent, if frequently unconscious, preoccupation. Which is why, instead of, say, Wonders of the World and Other Stories, this collection turned out to be The Book of Regrets.
"What kind of stories are these? They are literate, intelligent and earthy, lofty and quotidian, earnest and ironic. They are the kind of stories into which you relax deeply, then stop short to take note of a particular word as if for the first time, or to say, "Hey, listen to this sentence," to whoever else is in the room.
You might read The Book of Regrets to enjoy the mix of voices, to dip into empathy as into a cool (yet somehow caustic) bath, or to enjoy the occasional dollop of Trollope. Read it to see how what is said is always balanced by, in tension with, or canceled out by what is unsaid: "He couldn't say that having finally spoken made him feel different, though he was glad to have done it." Read it for its elegantly understated final line. Read for the wisdom of a writer who knows regret, love, and humor, and a great deal besides."
Contents copyright © Norman Waksler 2005-2019