Not reading this one in the traditional manner–front to back; skipping around to what appeals at the time.
Sightseeing, by Rattawut Lapcharoensap, is a short story that seems to contain all the necessary elements of method to make a story work. There is a theme–sight; the story is about a young man (first person pov narrator) who is deciding to put off going off to college because of his mother’s impending blindness. The plot is linear, with the timeline encompassing their departure on a "vacation" while the mother can still see, along with some minor backstory to enhance the relationship. The conflicts are clear: the mother may lose her vision at any time, and the son is giving up his dreams of furthering his education. The characters are portrayed in their relationship both by dialogue and by in particular, the mother’s dealings with a merchant when she purchases a pair of sunglasses along with her seasickness on a part of the journey. I loved the easy way the story flowed with interesting characters, a dramatic event held to a low key approach, and an ending that keeps the reader thinking about the story.
Goodwill Gestures by Leo Hwang is fairly interesting in story, but for me, fell short in that the timelines hopped around (fine, I can handle that) without leaving the reader with a full sense of the characters. Too many characters involved in a simple story.
David Cates’ Things You Cannot Know was well enough written, yet I never felt a connection with the first person POV narrator nor cared about her problems. Again here, a few too many rambling histories of secondary characters. The ending was unsatisfying in what the protagonist has actually come around to thinking, despite a final scene where a shower might have had some meaning deeper than just thinking time.