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Other titles in the New Stories from the South series:
New Stories from the South: The Year's Best, 2007 (New Stories from the South)by Edward Jones
Synopses & Reviews
This enduring celebration of the short story only gets better with age and this year enlists the talents of guest editor Edward P. Jones, andquot;one of the most important writers of his own generation and of the present dayandquot; (the Washington Post Book World).
In 1993, for the first time in his career, Edward P. Jones had a short story selected for an anthology. The story was andquot;Marie.andquot; The anthology was the eighth volume of New Stories from the South. Now, the Pulitzer Prizeand#8211;winning novelist and short story writer returns to guest edit and introduce the twenty-second volume of this distinguished anthology.
Jones brings to the task his artistic vision for the short story and finds its best practitioners, and not just those with well-established names (James Lee Burke, Rick Bass, Tim Gautreaux, George Singleton) but writers just beginning their careers (Holly Goddard Jones, Joshua Ferris, Angela Threat, Philipp Meyer). Jones chooses eighteen stellar stories for the 2007 collection, stories that hold a special resonance for him. As he says in his introduction, andquot;For something to claim me long after the last sentence, I need a sense that the world, for even one character, has shifted, whether to a large or a tiny degree. . . . I have tried to do my best to pick stories that are not, to use some of William Faulkner's words, about the glands, but about the human heart.andquot;
"The 21st edition of Algonquin's signature anthology is not the series' strongest, but it's consistent and entertaining. Unlike some previous editions, the majority of the stories have something to do with the geographic South. Joshua Ferris's 'Ghost Town Choir,' set in Florida's Big Coppitt Key, begins with a son's witnessing a single mother's breakup rage, and also shows off a writer's ability to violate most of the rules of short fiction by using dual points of view. The tabloids inform Holly Goddard Jones's 'Life Expectancy,' which opens on a high school basketball coach's affair with a sophmore, and the haunting and horrifying portrait of a homicidal maniac in 'Beauty and Virtue' by Augustín Maes is the strongest offering in the collection. Although it's the least overtly southern story in the book, Daniel Wallace's short vignette about marriage and perception of beauty is touching. The remainder, while always rewarding, tends to drift into stylistic showboating or to lack a deep connection to their backgrounds and settings. Nevertheless, editor Jones (All Aunt Hagar's Children, etc.) has brought a sharp eye to a venerable tradition, stewarded by series editor Kathy Pories." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
This year, acclaimed short-story writer ZZ Packer chooses twenty distinctive stories representing the great number of voices and narratives coming out of the South. Some of the youngest and freshest talents on the literary horizon—Bret Anthony Johnston, Kevin Brockmeier, Holly Goddard Jones—accompany well-known Southern stalwarts, including Pinckney Benedict, Clyde Edgerton, and Ron Rash. Their stories tell of life as it is now, a life not seen in romanticized Southern fiction, one where existence—both urban and rural—is as raw and risky as it is alluring. The energy of this collection courses through every one of Packer's edgy, funny, and gritty selections.
For this year's volume, acclaimed writer ZZ Packer chooses some of the youngest and freshest voices on the literary horizon to accompany a host of well-established writers. And the stories they write tell of the South as it is now, the one not seen in the romanticized Southern fiction, but one where life is raw and risky. Here you'll find young girls encountering their first taste of corrupt adult world, a boy meeting his father for the first time, an uncle dealing with a nephew who's turned to meth. But this is still the South, and there is an alligator to be dealt with, a hurricane churning offshore, and the belief that a day at the beach can cure all.
As ZZ packer says in her introduction, "the sit-ins, the marches, the hope of better days…began in the South. Every other region can jam its fingers in its ears and shake its head and tunelessly chant 'Not in My Backyard,' but not so in the South. The South is the backyard. And as backward as we've been portrayed—or as backward as we've sometimes portrayed ourselves, slipping behind a curtain of innocent and naïve agrarianism, rural somnolence, and sleepy everlasting vowels—the truth is that every awful and beautiful thing that has happened in America happened in the South first." You'll feel the pulse of the South coursing through every one of her selections.
About the Author
Allan Gurganuss first novel, Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All, was a New York Times bestseller and has been translated into twelve languages. His novel White People was the winner of the Los Angeles Book Prize and was a PEN/Faulkner finalist, and his short fiction has appeared in The New Yorker, the Atlantic, and the Paris Review and has been anthologized in the The O. Henry Prize Stories, The Best American Short Stories, The Norton Anthology of Short Fiction, and New Stories from the South. He is a 2006 John Simon Guggenheim Fellow.
Z.Z. Packer's first collection, Drinking Coffee Elsewhere, was a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award, and a New York Times Notable Book, and was selected by John Updike for the Today Show Book Club. She has been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship for fiction, a Whiting Writers' Award, and a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers' Award. Packer is on the faculty of California College of the Arts, and her stories have been anthologized in Best American Short Stories and New Stories from the South.
Kathy Pories earned her B.A. and Ph.D. in English Literature at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She taught in the English Department at UNC and at Elon University before joining Algonquin in 1995. She lives in Durham, North Carolina.
Table of Contents
Introduction by ZZ Packer
Holly Goddard Jones, Theory of Realty
Pinckney Benedict, Bridge of Sighs
Amina Gautier, The Ease of Living
Kevin Moffett, First Marriage
Robert Drummond, The Unnecessary Man
Stephanie Soileau, So This Is Permanence
Clyde Edgerton, The Great Speckled Bird
Ron Rash, Back of Beyond
Merritt Tierce, Suck It
R.T. Smith, Wretch Like Me
Karen E. Bender, Candidate
David James Poissant, Lizard Man
Daniel Wallace, The Girls
Jim Tomlinson, First Husband, First Wife
Bret Anthony Johnston, Republican
Mary Miller, Leak
Charlie Smith, Albemarle
Jennifer Moses, Child of God
Stephanie Dickinson, Lucky Seven & Dalloway
Kevin Brockmeier, Andrea Is Changing Her Name
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