No collection of essays can match the Best American series for the variety of subjects explored, the first-rate quality of pieces, and the eclectic approaches to the genre gathered in its pages each year. With characteristic flair, it provides that rare and refreshing opportunity for readers to take stock of the year's most distinguished and provocative nonfiction. Continuing the celebrated tradition, the 1995 edition dazzles and surprises with its inventive, colorful cornucopia of essays drawn from periodicals across the country. Showcased here are the preeminent pieces from the Los Angeles Times and The New Yorker, from Harper's Magazine and The Alaska Quarterly Review, written by some of today's finest prose stylists, including Edward Hoagland, Grace Paley, Cynthia Ozick, William Gass, John Edgar Wideman, and Joseph Brodsky. Guest editor Jamaica Kincaid, one of America's most illustrious storytellers and essayists, has culled her top twenty choices, assembling works of remarkable su
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JAMAICA KINCAID is the author of numerous award-winning works, including the memoirs My Brother and The Autobiography of My Mother and the novel Annie John. A contributor to The New Yorker, she recently appeared in "The Sophisticated Traveler" in the New York Times, and her travelogue, Among Flowers: A Walk in the Himalaya, will be published in 2005, along with her new novel, My Favorite Tool.From Booklist:
Each year, one reviewer or another raves about the latest volume in this outstanding series. That's because each editor of The Best American Essays, talented writers in their own right (and we're talking about people like Susan Sontag, Tracy Kidder, and Annie Dillard), truly does choose the most vital of that year's crop. Kincaid, a uniquely sensual and sensitive novelist as well as an essayist, bluntly explains that she chose each of these 20 essays because they pleased her--as they will please all essay enthusiasts and fans of such writers as Edna O'Brien, Cynthia Ozick, Harold Brodkey, William Gass, Grace Paley, Tobias Wolf, and John Edgar Wideman. The volume begins with a witty and masterful piece about antiquity by Joseph Brodsky and includes essays by two other poets, Maxine Kumin and Charles Simic. Bernard Cooper's essay about his first encounter with transvestites and recognition of his attraction to men is as supple and moving as essays get, and Edward Hoagland's discussion of marriage is gratifyingly candid. Kincaid writes, "Living is urgent, not to be taken lightly" ; we concur and praise essayists for giving voice to this urgency and import. Donna Seaman
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