The Best American Short Stories 2011

The Best American Short Stories 2011

2.9 22
by Geraldine Brooks
     
 

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The Best American Series®
First, Best, and Best-Selling

The Best American series is the premier annual showcase for the country’s finest short fiction and nonfiction. Each volume’s series editor selects notable works from hundreds of magazines, journals, and websites. A special guest editor, a leading writer in the field, then chooses the

Overview

The Best American Series®
First, Best, and Best-Selling

The Best American series is the premier annual showcase for the country’s finest short fiction and nonfiction. Each volume’s series editor selects notable works from hundreds of magazines, journals, and websites. A special guest editor, a leading writer in the field, then chooses the 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 2011 includes

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Megan Mayhew Bergman, Jennifer Egan,
Nathan Englander, Allegra Goodman,
Ehud Havazelet, Rebecca Makkai, Steven Millhauser,
George Saunders, Mark Slouka, and others

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Children and their parents feature prominently, if predictably, in this year's collection, which includes stories by three Pulitzer Prize-winners. Some of the stronger pieces—such as Sam Lipsyte's "The Dungeon Master," about an endearing young cast of misfit fantasy-game players, and Ricardo Nuila's "Dog Bites," in which a pedantic but loving father helps his son navigate the perils of Little League and life without Mom—tackle the difficulties of adolescence with fresh humor and vigor. Though most of the stories stick to a neutral third-person perspective, or feature an older first-person narrator reflecting on youth, one notable exception is Richard Powers' excellent "To the Measures Fall," which is written in the second-person and poses piercing questions to the reader as the story follows the main character from her young adulthood to death. In Joyce Carol Oates's bleak and heartfelt "ID," a 13-year-old girl must identify her dead mother at the morgue. In George Saunders' "Escape from Spiderhead," inmates at a futuristic prison enact hilarious, disturbing tests upon one another. Though many of the names here are familiar, this powerful new work re-establishes these authors' command of the form. (Oct.)
"In this anthology series celebrating American short fiction annually since 1915, each year a different renowned writer chooses the best 20 stories of that year...Brooks does the honors impressively. "
Booklist

"Though many of the names here are familiar, this powerful new work re-establishes these authors' command of the form."
Publishers Weekly "Another stellar selection from an anthology that has sustained high standards for 35 years..Each one of these stories could establish itself as some reader’s favorite ."
Kirkus, starred

Kirkus Reviews

Another stellar selection from an anthology that has sustained high standards for 35 years.

Every year's annual edition reflects the state of the genre as seen from the eyes of its guest editor. As this year's editor, Brooks (Caleb's Crossing, 2011, etc.) brings an outsider's perspective to the American short story, one not beholden to creative writing workshops and MFA programs.Born and raised in Australia, she's a journalist who became an acclaimed novelist and who doesn't write stories.But she read a whole lot of them last year, using the criterion that "a great piece of writing is the one you feel on your skin. It has to do something: Make the heart beat harder or the hairs stand up. Provoke laughter or tears." She plainly responds to strong narrative voices, characters and momentum, preferring plots to postmodern literary parlor tricks (though inclusions from Steven Millhauser, Sam Lipsyte and a wonderful multiple-choice story by Richard Powers suggest that she is no kneejerk traditionalist). This anthology is lighter on discovery than some years, with more than a third of the 20 stories first published in the New Yorker (and another actually an excerpt from Jennifer Egan's prize-winning A Visit from the Goon Squad novel), but the inclusion of Megan Mayhew Bergman's "Housewifely Arts" whets the appetite for her debut story collection next spring. And Tom Bissell's explanation of how "A Bridge Under Water," about a honeymoon in Rome that shows a marriage already in peril, was rejected 15 times before the publication that resulted in this year's anthologizing should provide hope to persevering writers everywhere. Many of these stories offer rite-of-passage (or at least coming-of-age) discoveries, as the reader recognizes implications that a youthful protagonist has yet to glean. Compounding the narrative intrigue is Ricardo Nuila's "Dog Bites," with a narrator subjected to multiple diagnoses (including Asperger's) by his doctor father, challenging the reader to determine whether the perspective of the son or the father is more significantly skewed.

Each one of these stories could establish itself as some reader's favorite.

From the Publisher

"In this anthology series celebrating American short fiction annually since 1915, each year a different renowned writer chooses the best 20 stories of that year...Brooks does the honors impressively."
--Booklist

"Though many of the names here are familiar, this powerful new work re-establishes these authors' command of the form."
--Publishers Weekly

"Another stellar selection from an anthology that has sustained high standards for 35 years..Each one of these stories could establish itself as some reader’s favorite."
--Kirkus, starred

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780547242163
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
10/04/2011
Series:
Best American Short Stories Series
Pages:
384
Sales rank:
752,994
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.10(h) x 1.10(d)
Age Range:
14 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"In this anthology series celebrating American short fiction annually since 1915, each year a different renowned writer chooses the best 20 stories of that year...Brooks does the honors impressively. "
Booklist

"Though many of the names here are familiar, this powerful new work re-establishes these authors' command of the form."
Publishers Weekly "Another stellar selection from an anthology that has sustained high standards for 35 years..Each one of these stories could establish itself as some reader’s favorite ."
Kirkus, starred

Meet the Author

Geraldine Brooks was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in fiction in 2006 for her novel March . Her first novel, Year of Wonders , is an international bestseller, and her novel People of the Book was a New York Times bestseller translated into 20 languages. She is also the author of the nonfiction works Nine Parts of Desire and Foreign Correspondence .

HEIDI PITLOR is a former senior editor at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. She is the author of the novel The Birthdays and has a novel coming

in 2014.

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The Best American Short Stories 2011 2.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 22 reviews.
bookaholicNC More than 1 year ago
I've recently re-read all the "Best American Short Stories" from 1979 through 2011 and picked out my favorite stories of all time (133 of them). I consider myself a connoisseur of short stories. The 2011 collection is a mixed bag, and I'd read several of them already. Nevertheless, it is certainly a good read. My favorites are: "Foster" "Phantoms" and "The Call of Blood."
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If these were the best American short stories of 2011 then I'd have to say it was an off year. With a few notable exceptions, these were average at best.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is a super book!!!!!!!!!
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Stories have no plot, characters are unlikeable. Sorry I wasted my time on it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very disappointing - maybe one or two somewhat decent stories in whole book. It seemed like most of the stories were not complete, like something was missing from them.
dshazam More than 1 year ago
These appeared to be chapters from books rather than short stories. I did not enjoy any and have even deleted the book from my library.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Most stories seemed incomplete and did not hold your attention.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Stores were a bit different from the happily ever after -- if that's what you wish.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Could have added alot of better stories, but i guess its ok for the rice.
Nannydiver More than 1 year ago
I admit, I'm not a real short story lover. I like to really get into a story. However, these examples did not change my mind about 'short stories'. Can't imagine how bad the other 480 entries were. But then, it is all subjective.