Synopses & Reviews
The Best American Essays 1996 celebrates the acclaimed anthology's tenth year with a lively, wide-ranging volume that takes the essay into diverse worlds far beyond the personal. The territories these essays explore are sometimes astonishing, amusing, or disturbing. Ian Frazier takes the F train to Brooklyn, with its continuous parade of urban surprises; Amitav Ghosh visits New Delhi during a moment of social upheaval; and Chang-Rae Lee welcomes us into his family kitchen, where he prepares Korean meals for his dying mother. While Gerald Early analyzes the Afrocentric dream of a world without whites, Jonathan Raban hears the last call of the wild on the Pacific coast, and Nicholson Baker peruses an upscale world in which books are part of the furniture. Guest editor Geoffrey C. Ward has assembled an outstanding group of essays with a slightly different twist - one that looks outside instead of in.