The Best American Short Stories of the Century

The Best American Short Stories of the Century

4.1 7
by John Updike
     
 

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Since the series' inception in 1915, the annual volumes of The Best American Short Stories have launched literary careers, showcased the most compelling stories of each year, and confirmed for all time the significance of the short story in our national literature. Now THE BEST AMERICAN SHORT STORIES OF THE CENTURY brings together the best—fifty-six

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Overview

Since the series' inception in 1915, the annual volumes of The Best American Short Stories have launched literary careers, showcased the most compelling stories of each year, and confirmed for all time the significance of the short story in our national literature. Now THE BEST AMERICAN SHORT STORIES OF THE CENTURY brings together the best—fifty-six extraordinary stories that represent a century's worth of unsurpassed achievements in this quintessentially American literary genre. This expanded edition includes a new story from The Best American Short Stories 1999 to round out the century, as well as an index including every story published in the series.
Of all the writers whose work has appeared in the series, only John Updike has been represented in each of the last five decades, from his first appearance, in 1959, to his most recent, in 1998. Updike worked with coeditor Katrina Kenison to choose the finest stories from the years since 1915. The result is "extraordinary . . . A one-volume literary history of this country's immeasurable pains and near-infinite hopes" (Boston Globe).

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"A treasure - a one-volume literary history of this country's immeasurable pains and near-infinite hopes." Boston Globe

"Finding wonderful stories that you don't already know is one of this collection's great pleasures... " The New York Times

"The short story - not to mention America and the twentieth century - at its best." The Wall Street Journal

"...a thrillingly energized argument for the enduring vitality of big ideas in small packages." Entertainment Weekly

Chicago Tribune
Revelatory.
Boston Globe
Extraordinary...A one-volume literary history of this country's immeasurable pains and near-infinite hopes.
Wall Street Journal
Splendid...[these stories] surely represent the short story — not to mention America and the 20th century — at its best.
Deirdre Donahue
Absolutes are always a dangerous territory. But the deft John Updike and co-editor Katrina Kenison have managed to assemble a provocative collection that offers readers enough offbeat selections so that the collection doesn't bore....Do not skip Kenison's foreword or Updike's excellent introduction to the 55 stories....If you like brief, intense encounters with other lives, this is a wonderful companion for your fin de siècle bedside table.
USA Today
Michael Gorra
Finding wonderful stories that you don't already know is one of this collection's great pleasures....But much of the book's interest lies in seeing how little has changed since the series began in 1915....Short stories speak to those aspects of experience in which ...loneliness seems most acutely felt...
The New York Times Book Review
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Updike narrowed down his collection of short stories from 55 to 21 to present this rich, warm voicing of some of the best writing of the 20th century. Whenever possible, it seems, Updike has enlisted living writers to read their own works. It's a pleasure to hear Updike soothe his way through his own "Gesturing" and Gish Jen whir her "Birthmates." Others contributor/readers include Thom Jones, Cynthia Ozick, Lorrie Moore and Tim O'Brien. For writers such as Dorothy Parker, Robert Penn Warren and Raymond Carver, Updike has cleverly paired appropriate readers. He lends his own voice to Sherwood Anderson's "The Other Woman," George Plimpton deftly breathes F. Scott Fitzgerald's "Crazy Sunday" and Jill McCorckle's sharp twang lends a wry rhythm to Eudora Welty's "The Hitchhikers." Each story, sometimes snug with a second, fits neatly on one side of a cassette. Brief interludes of music, when the readers introduce themselves, the stories and the places of original publication, thankfully fade away, leaving the listener with crisp, fresh recordings of these excellent tales. Based on the Houghton Mifflin paperback. (Apr.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Library Journal
The only author to be included in Best American Short Stories in every decade since the 1950s, John Updike was chosen to select those stories best representing the American century since the series inception in 1915. Being limited to those originally chosen for the annual volumes, Updike admits that past editors may have overlooked some gems. But he makes a valiant effort to include all the masters of the form, from Faulkner, Hemingway, and Fitzgerald, through Cheever, OConnor, and Malamud, to Carver and Munro. Though one might question whether an individual choice is really one of the best of the century, as a whole the collection presents a microcosm of 20th-century American life: the immigrant experience (many of the early stories), the Roaring Twenties (Fitzgerald), World War II (Roth) and the Holocaust (Malamud and Ozick), 1950s suburban values (Cheever) and their rejection by 1960s youth culture (Oates), Vietnam (OBrien), and AIDS (Sontag and Dark). Many of the stories are famous and easily found elsewhere, but there are some rare surprises like a semi-autobiographical piece by Tennessee Williams. Recommended for most public libraries, and for those academic libraries that no longer hold all the annual volumes. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 12/98.]Christine DeZelar-Tiedman, Univ. of Idaho Lib., Moscow
Entertainment Weekly
...a thrillingly energized argument for the enduring vitality of big ideas in small packages.
The Wall Street Journal
The short story - not to mention America and the twentieth century - at its best. --
Sauter
...you've got to admire the comprehensiveness of this compilation...Thanks to Updike these almost-buried treasures are reaching a brand new audience. One can argue that preserving their author's voices for posterity is this anthology's most valuable acheivement.

Biography

Andre Bernard
This is a terrific collection that ought to be read by anyont interested in good writing or curious about the 20th century American social scene. The inevitable moments of tedium—not all of the stories are brilliant, not all of the writers memorable, and certainly the book should be taken in small sips, not in large gulps—are far outweighed by the accumulated treasures Mr. Updike has assembled. And its greatest gift is to send us scurrying to the shelves for larger ccollections by the individual writers found here.
New York Observer

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780395843673
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
04/28/2000
Series:
Best American Short Stories Series
Edition description:
Expanded
Pages:
864
Sales rank:
67,951
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 2.12(d)
Age Range:
14 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"A treasure - a one-volume literary history of this country's immeasurable pains and near-infinite hopes." Boston Globe

"Finding wonderful stories that you don't already know is one of this collection's great pleasures... " The New York Times

"The short story - not to mention America and the twentieth century - at its best." The Wall Street Journal

"...a thrillingly energized argument for the enduring vitality of big ideas in small packages." Entertainment Weekly

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