Karen's Back to the Classics Challenge this year is a "Classic Short Story Collection." I chose Stephen Crane's Maggie: A Girl of the Streets and Other Tales of New York. Maggie was first published in 1893, and at 83 pages it's more like a novella than a true short story, but there are also eleven of Crane's other short stories in this collection (though I have to say many felt more like observations of city life in the 1890s than like well-plotted stories). Crane does write very detailed and descriptive scenes of New York life, but I didn't find any of these short stories very memorable or entertaining; in fact, I didn't really like any of them, and I absolutely hated his story titled "A Dark-Brown Dog".
As for Maggie: A Girl of the Streets, there's definitely more story in this one, but it's a sad one. It centers around Maggie, a pretty young girl living in the Bowery with her brother, Jimmie, and their alcoholic mother. She's drawn to Pete, a friend of her brother's, who takes her to restaurants and plays, and treats her well. But when she leaves the chaos of her own home to move in with him, she's immediately condemned by every one who knows her, especially her mother and brother. And when Pete's attention is drawn back to an old flame, Maggie has no one to turn to and nowhere to go.
Crane highlights the poverty, hard life and hypocrisy of the inhabitants of the Bowery. He also writes every conversation between the characters in very heavy dialect. It made reading the story a bit of a slog. So I didn't love this one either. But that's how it goes sometimes. At least it's another classic read and checked off my list.