Synopses & Reviews
As it approaches its twentieth year, Shannon Ravenel's anthology has taken on a kind of cult status among readers, writers, teachers of short fiction, and trend watchers. It was here that some of the most well-respected voices of the last two decades were first recognized, here that writers tell us they were discovered by agents, here that they landed their first book deals. And for readers looking for fresh, exciting short fiction, here is where they'll find it. Ravenel has once again put together a stellar lineup of stories that makes this anthology not just a mark of distinction for writers, but a must-have for short-story aficionados and lovers of Southern fiction.
The stories in the nineteenth volume of New Stories from the South continue to spotlight the jewels of the South, both discovered and on the verge, featuring Edward P. Jones, George Singleton, Chris Offutt, Annette Sanford, Rick Bass, Silas House, Starkey Flythe, Michael Knight, and more. Each story is followed by the author's note about its origin. With a preface by bestselling writer Tim Gautreaux, this volume promises to be another collector's edition.
"Like last year's edition, the 19th installment of this annual showcase of Southern short fiction is exciting but uneven. The collection gets off to a fine start with Pulitzer winner Edward P. Jones (in his affecting 'A Rich Man,' a man seeking lost youth gets a lot more than he bargained for) and Chris Offutt (the simple but touching 'Second Hand,' in which a woman pawns her prized boots for a chance to make a third-grader happy). But while Rick Bass's 'Pagans' unfolds as an affecting, rich evocation of young love, it's meandering and overwritten. Though certainly not filled with humor, this year's collection with offerings like George Singleton's 'Raise Children Here,' Brock Clarke's 'The Lolita School' and Drew Perry's 'Love Is Gnats Today' reflects a less somber view than the 2003 edition. Still, Silas House's 'Coal Smoke' and Michael Knight's 'Feeling Lucky' are bleak, and Ann Pancake's 'Dog Song' is both haunting and gruesome. Jill McCorkle's 'Intervention,' the tale of a woman's complicated devotion to her alcoholic husband, shines. Breast fixation, race, pre-World War I sex education, the shadow of death, a nasty parrot, reconciliation and an iconoclastic docent are subjects explored by rising stars, including Starkey Flythe Jr., Tayari Jones, K.A. Longstreet, Annette Sanford, Bret Anthony Johnston and R.T. Smith. Reflections on the stories by the authors themselves add another layer of pleasure to this volume. (June)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"A mixed bag of 18 mostly unsurprising stories....Well-crafted tales from a laudable tradition, though Ravenal might encourage more experimental voices next time." Kirkus Reviews
"There's something for everyone in the nineteenth publication of this noteworthy annual anthology....Authors' endnotes about their inspirations for these 18 stories enrich the volume." Michele Leber, Booklist
Bestselling author Tim Gautreaux shifts the 19th volume into high gear with a preface that sets the tone for seventeen varied and compelling stories all rooted in the South and penned by some of today's finest writers, including Edward P. Jones and Jill McCorkle.
About the Author
Shannon Ravenel, a native of Charleston, South Carolina, was series editor of The Best American Short Stories for fourteen years before she inaugurated the New Stories from the South series. She serves as Director of Shannon Ravenel Books, an Algonquin imprint, and lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
Table of Contents
Edward P. Jones, A Rich Man, From The New Yorker
Starkey Flythe, Jr., A Family of Beasts,From The Chattahoochee Review
Chris Offutt, Seocond Hand, From The Iowa Review
Ingrid Hill, Valor, From Image
Tayari Jones, Best Cousin, From Sou'wester
George Singleton, Raise Children Here, From The Georgia Review
Rick Bass, Pagans, From The Idaho Review
K.A. Longstreet, The Judgement of Paris, From The Virginia Quarterly Review
Brock Clarke, The Lolita School, From StoryQuarterly
Silas House, Coal Smoke, From The Louiseville Review
Ann Pancake, Dog Song, From Shenandoah
Drew Perry, Love is Gnats Today, From The Nebraska Review
Michael Knight, Feeling Lucky, From The Virginia Quarterly Review
Elizabeth Seydel Morgan, Saturday Afternoon in the Holocaust Museum, From The Southern Review
Annette Sanford, One Summer, From New Orleans Review
Jill McCorkle, Intervention, From Ploughshares
Bret Anthony Johnston, The Widow, From New England Review
R.T. Smith, Docent, From The Missouri Review