The Best American Short Stories 2002 (The Best American Series)

Miller, Sue; Kenison, Katrina

Published by Mariner Books, 2002
ISBN 10: 0618131736 / ISBN 13: 9780618131730
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Synopsis: Since its inception in 1915, the Best American series has become the premier annual showcase for the country's finest short fiction and nonfiction. For each volume, a series editor reads pieces from hundreds of periodicals, then selects between fifty and a hundred outstanding works. That selection is pared down to the twenty or so very best pieces by a guest editor who is widely recognized as a leading writer in his or her field. This unique system has helped make the Best American series the most respected -- and most popular -- of its kind.

This year's Best American Short Stories features a rich mix of voices, from both intriguing new writers and established masters of the form like Michael Chabon, Edwidge Danticat, Richard Ford, Jhumpa Lahiri, and Arthur Miller. The 2002 collection includes stories about everything from illicit love affairs to family, the immigrant experience and badly behaved children -- stories varied in subject but unified in their power and humanity. In the words of this year's guest editor, the best-selling author Sue Miller, "The American short story today [is] healthy and strong . . . These stories arrived in the nick of time . . . to teach me once more what we read fiction for."

Review: In her opening remarks to The Best American Short Stories 2002, guest editor Sue Miller notes the difficulty of reading fiction produced during 2001, the year of the September 11 terrorist attacks. She also remarks that by the time she had finalized her 20 selections, this act of reading had restored her faith both in fiction's significance and its ability to tap into timeless themes. The 2002 anthology includes stories best described as realist fiction or traditional fiction, many set in contemporary times. The tales range from E.L. Doctorow's "A House on the Plains," a murder set at the turn of the century, to pieces with more recent settings, like "Puppy" by Richard Ford, which shows how a New Orleans couple deals--or doesn't deal--with the appearance of a stray dog. Both Jhumpa Lahiri's "Nobody's Business" and Edwidge Danticat's "Seven" deftly portray the disconnection a semi-assimilated Indian American and Haitian American couple experience both as partners and as U.S. citizens. Leonard Michael's "Nachman from Los Angeles," in contrast, adds some levity to the mix. Miller adds in her preface that maybe next year the tales will depart further from tradition, but judging from this volume no departure is necessary: the selections take the reader on a delightful journey through some of America's best contemporary writers. --Jane Hodges

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Title: The Best American Short Stories 2002 (The ...
Publisher: Mariner Books
Publication Date: 2002
Binding: Paperback
Book Condition: Used: Good

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