Synopses & Reviews
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 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. Lorrie Moore brings her keen eye for wit and surprise to the volume, and The Best American Short Stories 2004 is an eclectic and enthralling gathering of well-known voices and talented up-and-comers. Here are stories that probe the biggest issues: ambition, gender, romance, war. Here are funny and touching and striking tales of a Spokane Indian, the estranged wife of an Iranian immigrant, an American tutor in Bombay. In her introduction Lorrie Moore writes, The stories collected here impressed me with their depth of knowledge and feeling of character, setting, and situation . . . They spoke with amused intelligence, compassion, and dispassion.
"Chabon reaches out toward genre fiction after all, he writes, a story's delights 'all boil down to entertainment, and its suave henchman, pleasure' but he doesn't go so far as to alienate fans of more traditional stories in the lively latest volume of this venerable series. He begins with a Little League baseball story by Tom Perotta ('The Smile on Happy Chang's Face'), arguably a character study but a rousing sports piece too, and Dennis Lehane's 'Until Gwen' follows 'Your father picks you up from prison in a stolen Dodge Neon, with an 8-ball of coke in the glove compartment and a hooker named Mandy in the back seat' to stir things up a little. Kelly Link contributes an elegant haunted house tale, and Cory Doctorow serves up a 'piss-take' on Orson Scott Card's 'Ender's Game' with his story of online gaming, 'Anda's Game.' Stories by Edward P. Jones, Tim Pratt, Charles D'Ambrosio and Tom Bissell skirt genre, too, though Chabon doesn't forget such Best American stalwarts as Alice Munro, Joy Williams, Joyce Carol Oates and newer writers in the more traditional vein. In the big pile of Best Ams, this one holds its own, even if yawn six of the stories come from the august New Yorker." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
This year"s collection is edited by the Pulitzer Prize–winning novelist
and short story writer Michael Chabon. His eclectic selections
include pieces from publications as diverse as Granta, Salon.com,
Harvard Review, and The New Yorker. Another exciting installment
of the always enticing, best-selling anthology.
Contributors include Tom Perrotta, Joy Williams, Dennis Lehane, Edward P. Jones, Joyce Carol Oates, Thomas McGuane, and others.
The first and bestselling volume of its kind showcases the country's finest short fiction. This year's stories come handpicked by a beloved master of the form and are sure to feature more unforgettable characters and extraordinary writing.
The Best American Series First, Best, and Best-Selling
The Best American series has been the premier annual showcase for the country's finest short fiction and nonfiction since 1915. Each volume's series editor selects notable works from hundreds of periodicals. A special guest editor, a leading writer in the field, then chooses the very best twenty or so pieces to publish. This unique system has made the Best American series the most respected -- and most popular -- of its kind.
The Best American Short Stories 2005 includes
Dennis Lehane Tom Perrotta Alice Munro Edward P. Jones Joy Williams Joyce Carol Oates Thomas McGuane Kelly Link Charles D'Ambrosio Cory Doctorow George Saunders and others
Michael Chabon, guest editor, is the best-selling author of The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, Wonder Boys, A Model World, and, most recently, The Final Solution. His novel The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay won the Pulitzer Prize in 2000.
About the Author
Katrina Kenison has been the series editor of The Best American Short Stories since 1990. She currently resides in Massachusetts.
Table of Contents
Foreword ix Introduction by Michael Chabon xiii
Tom Perrotta. The Smile on Happy Changs Face 1 from Post Road
Dennis Lehane. Until Gwen 19 from The Atlantic Monthly
Lynne Sharon Schwartz. A Taste of Dust 35 from Ninth Letter
Thomas McGuane. Old Friends 43 from The New Yorker
J . Robert Lennon. Eight Pieces for the Left Hand 58 from Granta
Kelly Link. Stone Animals 67 from Conjunctions
Nathaniel Bellows. First Four Measures 109 from The Paris Review
Charles DAmbrosio. The Scheme of Things 125 from The New Yorker
Alice Munro. Silence 149 from The New Yorker
Tom Bissell. Death Defier 174 from Virginia Quarterly Review
Joy Williams. The Girls 212 from Idaho Review
Cory Doctorow. Andas Game 223 from Salon.com
Alix Ohlin. Simple Exercises for the Beginning Student 251 from Swink
Edward P. Jones. Old Boys, Old Girls 265 from The New Yorker
David Means. The Secret Goldfish 288 from The New Yorker
Joyce Carol Oates. The Cousins 298 from Harpers Magazine
David Bezmozgis. Natasha 318 from Harpers Magazine
Tim Pratt. Hart and Boot 339 from Polyphony
Rishi Reddi. Justice Shiva Ram Murthy 356 from Harvard Review
George Saunders. Bohemians 374 from The New Yorker
Contributors Notes 383 100 Other Distinguished Stories of 2004 394 Editorial Addresses of American and Canadian Magazines Publishing Short Stories 398