Annabel Lyon’s new book, The Best Thing for You (McClelland & Stewart), is a collection of three novellas and one of the best things in new fiction this season. Lyon’s narratives are crisp and relentless and express perfectly the writing credo of Robert Louis Stevenson, whose last days on Samoa are rendered by Alberto Manguel in Stevenson Under the Palm Trees (Thomas Allen) as a story of mystery and murder.
Manguel’s narrative skills also reflect the master’s narrative austerity, as expressed to Henry James and quoted in the novella: “1. War on the adjective. 2. Death to the optic nerve.” All writers of narrative should take note.