A companion piece to An Overpraised Season: Ten Stories of Youth. The young protagonists in these 10 short stories by modern writers share a common experience: each of their lives is touched by sorrow or grief. Some experience death or divorce; some are simply brought face-to-face with their own shortcomings. Well-known authors here range from Stephen Vincent Benet to Elizabeth Bowen to E.L. Doctorow. And the quality of the selections is uniformly high--most are unfamiliar; a few, such as Katherine Mansfield's "The Garden Party," are classics. The mood evoked is one of overwhelming lyricism and gentleness, despite the somberness of the subject matter. Details of many of the stories mark them as being from another era. (In Benet's "An Early Spring," for instance, a tender love affair is brought to an abrupt end when the--innocent--couple is discovered sleeping hand-in-hand in front of the fire, she in her nightgown. In the uproar that follows, her parents plan to send her to a convent.) But the emotions will be familiar to the contemporary reader--they reinforce the theme of the universality of human experience. A note about the original publication dates would have been useful. A worthwhile collection.