The short story is dead. Honestly, outside of college classes and Penthouse Letters, how often do you see even one of them out in the wilds of real life? Bright Lights & Glass Houses, however, will make you wish they would make a return to our lives and hearts.
Ashton Raze (one of the sweetest writer names ever, by the way) shows us how the short story's brevity can be honed to a sharp point, making an impact like a tightly balled fist against our collective temple.
The 20-some stories seem unrelated, but there are underlying themes coursing through them - death, love, loss, sex. For many of us, these happenings are among the only events of our lives that we remember when it's all over. These are all little slices-of-life stories, and many times there is a twist that shatters your expectations, or some things that, just like in reality, you'll never quite understand. Although you almost will.
There are only two stories that fell flat for me in the entire collection, and they are the ones where Raze focused on imagery instead of setting up his sometimes-fantastical scenes and having characters banter back and forth. The dialogue is where his writing really shines (even if there are a lot of swear-y words - but that's how people talk, isn't it?), and when it's missing, you realize how important it is to his prose.
All in all, though, this is the most readable, interesting, and consistently surprising collection of short stories in recent times. It deserves all the stars I can give.