I am currently reading my way through a long list of science fiction and fantasy titles. (http://www.npr.org/2011/08/07/138938145/science-fiction-and-fantasy-finalists if you are interested in the list).
This was a selection for my book club two months ago--but I couldn't get my hands on it before this month. I do remember that it was not the most popular book amongst book club members, so I had some prejudices going in. I really didn't care for the first 6 stories, but after that I found them a bit better. Perhaps I was just getting into the rhythm of reading short fiction, or maybe they improved, I'm not sure. I am not usually a fan of short fiction--these stories would, in my opinion, just get going, I'd just get to know the characters a bit, and then they were over. And they seemed uniformly depressing--people in difficult situations, not sure how to act, sometimes behaving poorly--and no real change to be found. No redemption, no improvement in their situations or their lives. No point, really. I realize that this is probably the most true to real life, but I don't read for real life--I live that. I want to read something unlike my life.
I really struggled to finish this book, especially since the book club meeting for which I was supposed to read it was long gone.
Extremely well written, but not for me.