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The Best American Short Stories of the Century
     

The Best American Short Stories of the Century

4.1 7
by John Updike (Editor)
 

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John Updike has selected enduring stories from the eighty-four annual volumes of THE BEST AMERICAN SHORT STORIES, and the result is "a spectacular tapestry of fictional achievement" (Entertainment Weekly). Available for the first time on compact disc, this extraordinary collection features a wide variety of contemporary writers reading classics of the genre, along

Overview

John Updike has selected enduring stories from the eighty-four annual volumes of THE BEST AMERICAN SHORT STORIES, and the result is "a spectacular tapestry of fictional achievement" (Entertainment Weekly). Available for the first time on compact disc, this extraordinary collection features a wide variety of contemporary writers reading classics of the genre, along with authors reading from their own work. Containing twenty-two unabridged stories in all, the expanded audio edition includes a new story from THE BEST AMERICAN SHORT STORIES 1999 to round out the century.

Editorial Reviews

bn.com editor
The Best American Short Stories of the Century, edited by John Updike, features 55 excellent short stories by William Faulkner, Willa Cather, Eudora Welty, and many more great authors. John Updike, George Plimpton, and Lorrie Moore are among the readers who lend their talents to this wonderful audio collection.
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
Chicago Tribune
Revelatory.
Boston Globe
Extraordinary...A one-volume literary history of this country's immeasurable pains and near-infinite hopes.
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
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

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780618093205
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
10/28/2000
Series:
Best American Short Stories Series
Edition description:
Unabridged
Pages:
1
Product dimensions:
5.09(w) x 5.89(h) x 1.15(d)

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

Meet the Author

George Plimpton is the author of many books including Paper Lion. Founder and editor of the Paris Review, he is New York City's Honorary Commissioner of Fireworks.

Brief Biography

Date of Birth:
March 18, 1932
Date of Death:
January 27, 2009
Place of Birth:
Shillington, Pennsylvania
Place of Death:
Beverly Farms, MA
Education:
A.B. in English, Harvard University, 1954; also studied at the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art in Oxford, England

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The Best American Short Stories of the Century 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Boomer48 More than 1 year ago
I recommend this book as a great way to entertain yourself with many, many interesting plots and glimpses of life in America in this century. There are always a few duds that do not particularly interest me in a collection of short stories but relatively few here. You, as reader, feel at the end that you have been a witness to the development of America in this century in the stories included here. It must have been difficult to select which to include but the editors did a good job for most are very, very good.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
Enchanting and yet down-to-earth! Updikes unique and profound story telling ability surpasses any I've seen so far!