In the High Peaks

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Your Opinion: The Best American Short Stories

Do you ever read any of "The Best" annuals? Perched on a kitchen counter by my elbow is The Best American Short Stories of 2009, edited by Alice Sebold, author of the bestseller The Lovely Bones and one of the best memoirs I have ever read, Lucky.

Don't let another year pass without reading Lucky! And don't let the warnings of violence make you turn away--it is a brilliant memoir of a college woman's rape on campus. That may sound like an oxymoron, but considering the statistics that the majority of women have been a victim of some sort of sexual assault during their lifetimes, this book may resonate and help heal you. It helped me.

Back to "The Best:" I'm impressed that almost all of the stories in the 2009 short stories volume were first published in small, independent, barely surviving literary magazines and most of the writers are "unknown." That's terrific. Not infrequently, the short stories' annual is a compilation of universally known authors whose stories were published in the "big" magazines of the preceding year: The New Yorker, Harper's, etc.

When Salman Rushdie was editor in 2008, half of his choices were written by older established writers. Sure, they're great, but I had already read the stories! Alice Munro, T.C. Boyle, Tobias Wolff, Nicole Krauss--all excellent practitioners of the craft, yes, but I'm so glad that for once Alice Sebold took some risks with her choices.

What short stories have you enjoyed? And what authors?

1 comment:

  1. I'm not a great short story reader, but have you read Jhumpa Lahiri's collection 'Interpreter of Maladies'? It is superb.