by Yann Martel
Yann Martel is incredible. His Life of Pi is a book I wish I could read over and over without knowing the ending, and this collection of short stories from early in his career shows the same magic, mystery and brilliance.
The title story, about a young man supporting his best friend who is dying of AIDS was really moving for me; I wish I'd read it before Deb got really ill as I think it would have helped me remember who she was.
The second story joins two things that, in my mind, just naturally go together -- literature and music -- in a simple character sketch with minimal plot and maximum interest.
I should have skipped "Manners of Dying": a collection of different versions of a warden's letter to a mother after her son is murdered legally while in prison. Too many issues there for me.
And finally, Martel's touch of magic returns in the final story. You have to read it. It's wonderful.