I picked up a couple of short story collections the past few days--both written by women and both are debut efforts:
--Dinosaurs On Other Planets by Danielle MacLaughlin
--Half Wild by Robin MacArthur
In both cases it appears that the author has seen at least a couple of her stories previously published in journals (or magazines, The New Yorker, if you want to get technical with MacLaughlin).
So far I've only had the opportunity to dip into each collection, reading the opening story from each. There are some similarities between the two as the main interactions in both are between a mother and her daughter, though the POV in McLaughlin's "The Art of Foot-Binding" is that of the mother, while MacArthur's "Creek Dippers" is that
of the daughter. They're similar in that neither daughter is satisfied with her situation or her relationship with her mother--though Becky in McLaughlin's story is 14 years old and Angel in "Creek Dippers" has attended college level classes and I understood her to be of at least drinking age. Another thing they share is that the daughters both want in these stories--Angel wants more...more than the trailer in the country/woods that her mother is so satisfied with. Becky wants for her parents to love each other, for her mother to do more, to not be teased in school for her size. Different wants, but both full of want.
The biggest thing the two stories have in common is they are both excellent. Really well-developed characters and some lovely sentences and means of moving their stories from place to place. Neither one was really designed to leave the reader with a very upbeat feeling, but that's not something I've ever minded. Very much looking forward to getting back into each of these titles soon.