I like editor A. S. Byatt's selection criterion: "that both the writing and the story should be startling and satisfying, and if possible make the hairs on the neck prickle with excitement, aesthetic or narrative." Though not all the stories live up to that criterion in my opinion, there are some notable ones that deserve special mention:
Thomas Hardy's A Mere Interlude -
It's a very interesting tale, full of twists and tension that keeps you flipping the pages. The plot is one of the most intriguing I've ever seen!
G. K. Chesterton's The Tremendous Adventures of Major Brown -
It's indeed an adventure that is both fun and exciting. It reads like a thriller and a detective story, but the whole setting is rather hilarious, especially the ending.
D. H. Lawrence's The Man who Loved Islands -
I marvel at Lawrence's breathtaking descriptions of nature and weather, and how he intimately intertwines them with the character's struggles and feelings.
Evelyn Waugh's An Englishman's Home -
I just feel this whole story is very "English", though I can't quite put down the reason why. Maybe it's because of the very cleverly constructed crime story in which the criminals prevail?
T. H. White's The Troll -
It's a surreal horror story, absurdly supernatural yet disturbingly believable. The whole plot is so patently unrealistic, but White's storytelling is so convincing that you'll still have goosebumps all over.
John Fuller's Telephone -
It's an extremely short story that is nothing more than an internal monologue about the phone ringing. But it's a wonder how Fuller can make so much out of so little!
Rose Tremain's The Beauty of the Dawn Shift -
As the editor so aptly comments, "The dreamy precise prose gives the hero's journey a fabulous quality, yet it is simultaneously sensuously solid." As the title implies, it's a beautiful story, but it's a beautifully sad story.