Short story collections from Mia Alvar, Edna O'Brien and Karen...

Short story collections from Mia Alvar, Edna O'Brien and Karen Joy Fowler. Credit: Knopf/Little, Brown/Putnam

IN THE COUNTRY, by Mia Alvar. The opening story of this debut collection dispatches an expat Filipino pharmacist from New York to Manila with smuggled pain killers for his unloved, dying father. The character's muted alienation sets the tone for these nine stories by a talented writer born in the Philippines and now living in New York. In another tale, a Filipina teacher in Bahrain takes on a special-needs pupil whose Arab mother has dramatically unrealistic expectations. (Alfred A. Knopf, $26.95)

THE LOVE OBJECT: Selected Stories, by Edna O'Brien. This London-based, Irish-born author now has 31 of her finely wrought stories collected in one volume -- itself a love object for fans. Spanning nearly 50 years, these tales capture the dreams and longings of Irish women and men (but especially women) at home and abroad. "Irish Revel" is a country cousin of James Joyce's classic story "The Dead"; the title story charts a doomed love affair between a young woman and an older married man. Especially good for fans of Alice Munro, William Trevor and Mavis Gallant. (Little, Brown; $30)

BLACK GLASS, by Karen Joy Fowler. The author's most recent novel, "We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves," won the PEN/Faulkner Award and was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. Now Fowler's publisher is reissuing a 1998 book of "short fictions" that nicely showcase her sly humor. The surreal title story resurrects the spirit of hatchet-wielding Carry Nation as a zombie trashing bars; in another she imagines an awkward phone conversation between the Lone Ranger and Tonto on the latter's 40th birthday. (Putnam, $27.95)

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