From the Publisher
"A grand convocation of writers from across the globe - middle-aged and young, famous and obscure."
"One of the best primers to appear in years . . . Running the gamut from high farce to domestic realism, these tales celebrate the artistic liveliness of short fiction today."
"This is the anthology I've been looking for, for my Craft of Fiction class-the range and the types of stories included, the wide diversity of authors and traditions, the combination of experimentation and classics-this all makes for an exciting, useful, and enriching book for my students, and myself. Best of its type!"
—Don Skiles, Chabot College, CA
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
A decade after Halpern's Art of the Tale anthology comes a hefty companion volume, this one collecting 78 international, contemporary authors, those born between 1938 and 1970. The new book elegantly shrugs off the dictates of political and cultural theorists to answer the demands of literary aesthetics. Yet the stories represented here, written by authors from 35 countries, are rife with honest social commentary: Haruki Murakami's suburban fantasy "The Elephant Vanishes" is told by a bourgeois Japanese man living outside Tokyo; the characters in Bobbie Ann Mason's "Wish" are poor tobacco farmers with crocheted pillows, sour stomachs and dirt yards; "Escort" by Abdulrazak Gurnah tells of a Tanzanian who returns briefly from England, where he is a teacher and a scholar of poetry, and becomes unwillingly involved with his taxi driver, a meticulously evil lapsed Muslim named Salim. The philosophy guiding Halpern's choices, as he points out in a refreshingly brief introduction, is that contemporary authors, unlike the early moderns collected in his previous anthology, are essentially reactionary: they respond conservatively, critically and satirically to the effluvia of current popular media. Though claiming to be an international selection, the majority of these stories were written in English, and many are by the usual suspects for such a collection: Lorrie Moore, Joyce Carol Oates, Julian Barnes, Martin Amis, T.C. Boyle, Raymond Carver. The international scene is represented by well-known writers-in-translation like Banana Yoshimoto, Patrick Chamoiseau and Peter Esterhazy, along with some distinguished voices not yet discovered by mainstream American readers. Halpern selected these stories with great intelligence and zero trendiness, and the anthology is a true pleasure at every turn. (Nov.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
This carefully chosen collection features 78 writers from 35 countries, all born between 1938 and 1970. Many of them will be familiar, like Margaret Atwood and Salman Rushdie, but many will be new to readers--Hanif Kureishi, Torgny Lindgren, and Ben Okri, to name a few. Halpern has included short biographical notes on all of the authors following the text. The quality of the stories is consistently high, proving that the short story is very much alive and that it is still a powerful form of writing. Halpern is also the editor of The Art of the Tale and the author of eight poetry collections. This new collection is an ideal purchase for anyone looking for an extraordinary book of short stories that is truly global. An important volume for public and academic libraries.--Lisa Rohrbaugh, East Palestine Memorial P.L., OH Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
It's the holiday season, which means it's time to remember that good things come in small packages. But really good things come in small packages that are then bound together and sold as one large package, like the gargantuan new short-fiction anthology The Art of the Story assembles the best contemporary short stories. And not just American authorsthat kind of narrow-mindedness is for sissy anthologies. Flexing its muscles, The Art of the Storyattempts to locate the peak of the genre as it's practiced worldwide, with 78 stories from 35 countries. The result is quite a party, with established masters like Raymond Carver, Lorrie Moore, Ann Beattie, Richard Ford, Margaret Atwood, Tobias Wolff, and T.C. Boyle lined up alongside a new crop of short-fiction sprouts like Victor Pelevin and Banana Yoshimoto.
Time Out New York
This fat "companion volume" to Halpern's earlier anthology, The Art of the Tale (not reviewed), offers a generous sampling of contemporary short fiction (all 78 contributors were "born after 1937")though it's perhaps less truly "international" than announced (more than 50 of the stories were written in English). Nevertheless, Halpern's range is impressive, extending to such writers of recent emergence as Vikram Chandra, Junot Díaz, Nathan Englander, Can Xue, and Banana Yoshimoto. Only a handful of stories are even arguably overfamiliar (Graham Swift's "Learning to Swim," Haruki Murakami's "The Elephant Vanishes," the late Toni Cade Bambara's "Gorilla, My Love")and Halpern has unearthed three to four dozen gems, including Kenyan Ngugi wa Thiong'o's moving "Minutes of Glory," Britisher Jim Crace's suggestive allegory "The Prospect from the Silver Hills," Hungarian Péter Esterházy's amusingly metafictional "Roberto Narrates," and Somalian Neustadt Prize–winner Nuruddin Farah's compact parable of colonialism, "My Father, the Englishman, and I." The only book of its kind well worth its (steep) price, and endlessly browsable.