A Day in the Life of a Smiling Woman
Complete Short Stories
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: 215 pp., $24
Written over a period of 50 years, these stories reveal a great deal about a writer best known for her novels. Organized chronologically by publication year, from 1964 to 2000, the 14 stories describe (clearly without Margaret Drabble's intention to do so) three phases of a woman's life: youth, middle age and old age. In the first few stories, like "Les Liaisons Dangereuses" (written when the author was at Cambridge, but not published until 1968 after her reputation was established), we see young characters on the outside of social...