Ever since 1997’s vast and fragmented Underworld, Don DeLillo’s novels have been characterised by decreased length, the decommissioning of plot machinery and the steep deceleration of narrative time. As fitfully brilliant as they can be, The Body Artist, Cosmopolis, Falling Man and Point Omega often feel less like novels than short stories stretched too thin for too long. So it’s no surprise, reading The Angel Esmeralda (his first story collection), how suited his writing is to the form. The stories are arranged chronologically from 1979 to 2011, and for a writer whose work has gone through the evolutions and stylistic refinements that DeLillo’s has, it’s striking how cohesive the collection feels. The characters are all isolated in some way, existing at both a literal and figurative remove from the world.