They are both confined things, but no less for being that. A park isn't the sprawling countryside and the short story isn't a long rambling novel, but they give you a pretty high dose of wonderful literature, or being in a natural environment.Bet you never thought of the short story in those terms, but the analogy works pretty well.
Alison Flood in The Guardian reminds us that London's parks have a literary heritage. And now a group of contemporary authors (Will Self, Ali Smith William Boyd, Nicola Barker, Clare Wigfall, Sheena Mackay and Lebanese writer Hanan Al-Shaykh) have been commissioned to write short stories, each set in a different park. The stories will also be sold on recycled paper in individual booklets from the parks as well as in bookshops.
Rowan Routh (quoted above) devised and edited the series, and explains in The Bookseller :
I love short stories and always felt that it is a misperception that the public don’t. I was walking through Hyde Park, when I suddenly thought, 'So many Londoners love these places, and they have such a literary heritage - so many greats, like Dickens, Thackeray and Conrad, have set scenes in them' . . . So I thought of the Park Stories series and approached The Royal Parks to produce them.Will it work though? Nicholas Lezard on The Guardian blog is sceptical, citing the unpredictability of authors, and more seriously the fact that :
... specially commissioned literature, particularly in modern times, tends to fall flat.Still, as a reader and a lover of London, I think that a walking tour of the parks in late spring with a nice story to read on a park bench is a pretty nice way of getting reacquainted with the city.
And like so many other great ideas ... couldn't this one be brought to a city near you?