File Size: 3044 KB
Print Length: 333 pages
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (October 3, 2017)
Publication Date: October 3, 2017
A fair criticism with this collection (and not this edition, but all of them) is that it leans towards " New Yorker" style of short stories. If you totally like that, then likely to like it. If you don't, you most likely won't appreciate it as much. I really do - sometimes, but not constantly.
One of my favorite stories " Well-known Actor" is the type of story I would not expect at the Brand new Yorker. It's deliberately vapid, uneventful, low stakes but it captures the uneasiness of life in a way that I may usually like - but I liked this tale. There's " nothing" to it - it's an face with the " famous actor" of the title.
" Gender Studies" was interesting too, but it was a *little* too reliant on improbable behavior. But still a great character study.
And " Telemachus" was a long World War II story packed with unexpected perspective.
Those are the last three tales in the collection and i also wonder if I realized I was almost done and wanted to like them more? And they also didn't feel " New Yorker" to myself. Don't know - but interesting. I'm sure there will be some tales some will skim or dislike, but everyone will have a variety I think they will appreciate., I love short stories, and there don't seem to be enough really great ones being published lately. This particular collection is simply wonderful, addressing a the most recent and controversial societal subjects for instance a man engaged in a romantic situation with a woman and another man, a very pressing tale of a gay and lesbian man who wants more than anything to be a father, and a story in regards to a contestant on a popular television show. But it can not all modern--there is also a suspenseful World War II story set in the midst of the conflict.
You will find tales of lost love, hopeful love, relationships between parents and children, and relationship between domestic pets and the owners. Some tales are gripping, some are very funny, but all are chosen meticulously for terminology and nuance. T. D. Boyle's " Are We all Not Men? " is his usual funny wise-guy-with-heart New Yorker-style material, while Jim Shepard's " Telemachus" (my favorite story in this collection) is a bare-knuckle punch to the heart. The range of tone and style is quite breathtaking and there is something here that everyone will enjoy.
I enjoyed all of these stories, and will also be seeking out there the editor's work in the future as well., I should confess up front that I am not a regular reader of short stories and only an intermittent reader of literary fiction. But every now and then I find I'm in the mood to try something outside my normal history, biography, works, and mystery fiction regimen. A collection of the " best" short tales seemed like a good bet. It seemed to myself that right up until the last few stories, these choices were all cut from the same cloth -- about young people, still dwelling on their college years or perhaps still in them. To my brain they seemed calculated to impress a group of like-minded readers, readers who are writers, readers who will be in their twenties. When you enjoy literary fiction about young people grappling with legalis homo, these may be up your alley. I loved the Jim Shepard tale, as well as Curtis Sittenfield's Gender Studies, and Jess Walter's Famous Actor, stories which were about people who have a little more experience in life and a little more depth., I teach high school English, and so i am always looking for story collections that are varied, well written, and compiled nicely. This particular is all of those things. The short tales are from varying types. They are all perfectly written and they are organized well as an anthology. I will be using this in my class room regularly, yet , if I was not a teacher, I would still enjoy reading this collection., I try to browse the Best United states Short Stories every year. It's great for discovering new writers; I often pick up books by the writers whose tales I particularly liked. It is always a worthwhile read, though with every year, my enjoyment varies depending how my taste lines up with the editor's.
The only way I know to review and rate these collections is by the number of stories that left a strong impression on me. The 2017 edition had five stories that moved me and one that " wowed" me -- about on par with other editions.
Some high points for me: Jai Chakrabarti's " A Tiny Sacrifice for an Huge Happiness, " in which Nikhil wants to get a child with his lover, expressing " I want our like to increase, " but only discovers the restrictions of their relationship; Leopoldine Core's " Hog for Sorrow, " a strongly told story of unreturned love in an unconventional setting; Danielle Evans “Richard of York Gave Struggle in Vain, ” which, though the story sensed a little Hollywoody, was vibrantly written and engaging; Mary Gordon's " Ugly" -- my favorite of the collection -- which offers expression to something We have felt but could never describe, which is something the particular best stories can do; Maria Reva's " Novostroïka, " a unique and darkly humorous tale about the frustrations of bureaucracy; Jess Walter's " Famous Actor, " which plays out a common fantasy but finds the human angle.
One stipulation: four of the tales are from the Brand new Yorker magazine, so if you are subscriber, you have already read about 1/5 of this book., Many of the tales are about young people or young parents with young children. There are a lot of family dynamics, lost or threatened parent/sibling/child subjects, some likeable characters, some less sympathetic, some mired in the previous, some leaving days gone by right behind, but not really. Some stories I think are plainly trying too hard to be original. Still, I liked a good number of them and one or two were very good. This series is obviously a good way to find new authors.
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