Best New American Voices 2008

Overview

Critically acclaimed novelist and short story writer Richard Bausch continues the tradition of identifying the best young writers on the cusp of their careers in this year’s volume of Best New American Voices. Here are stories culled from hundreds of writing programs such as the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and Johns Hopkins and from summer conferences such as Sewanee and Bread Loaf—as well as a complete list of contact information for these programs. This collection showcases tomorrow’s literary stars: Julie Orringer,...

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Overview

Critically acclaimed novelist and short story writer Richard Bausch continues the tradition of identifying the best young writers on the cusp of their careers in this year’s volume of Best New American Voices. Here are stories culled from hundreds of writing programs such as the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and Johns Hopkins and from summer conferences such as Sewanee and Bread Loaf—as well as a complete list of contact information for these programs. This collection showcases tomorrow’s literary stars: Julie Orringer, Adam Johnson, William Gay, David Benioff, Rattawut Lapcharoensap, Maile Meloy, Amanda Davis, Jennifer Vanderbes, and John Murray are just some of the acclaimed authors whose early work has appeared in this series since its launch in 2000. The best new American voices are heard here first.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
PRAISE FOR THE BEST NEW AMERICAN VOICES SERIES
 
"These ambitious stories reflect the imaginations of a generation and are a sneak preview of coming attractions in fiction."—Chicago Tribune (Editor's Choice)

"Demonstrates the potent force of American writers emerging from such distinguished writing programs as Bread Loaf and Sewanee. These collected works draw the reader into varied worlds of experience."—Elle

Kirkus Reviews
A lively range of "startlingly original voices, and vivid, sophisticated sensibilities" is displayed in the latest installment of this always welcome annual. As this year's editor, short-story writer Bausch explains, the nation's writing workshops continue to provide crucibles for impressively varied developing talents. Evidence abounds in the volume's first two stories: a richly imagined realistic narrative in which a morose widower's tense relationship with his adult daughter is complicated, and paradoxically enriched, by the death of their family's beloved pet dog (Tucker Capps's "Alice"); and a mordant, gripping fantasy (Jedediah Berry's "Inheritance") about a suburban husband obliged to deal with his macho father's "legacy": a hirsute "beast" discovered in his cellar, which excites his neighbors' fears and his wife's protective fascination. The other 15 stories trace a widening arc, from chronicles of adolescent and young-adult longing and bafflement (Jordan McMullin's "Mouse"; Oriane Gabrielle Delfosse's "Men and Boys"; Stefan McKinstray's "No One Here Says What They Mean"), to compact bildungsromans set in such distant locales as Bangladesh (Razia Sultana Khan's ironic "Alms"), Cambodia (Sharon May's "The Wizard of Kao-I-Dang") and Israel's West Bank (Adam Stumacher's marvelous "The Neon Desert"). Though several stories feel formulaic or strained (notably, Christopher Stokes's very odd "The Man Who Ate Michael Rockefeller"), several others are standouts. In "Headlock," Dan Pinkerton deftly dramatizes a suburban crisis involving a depressed industrial-arts teacher, his straying wife and the teenaged hunk who challenges the cuckolded spouse to change his life. Peter Mountford offers a wry variation on W. Somerset Maugham's exotica in a rich study of generational and cultural conflict ("Horizon") set in Sri Lanka. In "Surfacing," Lauren Groff depicts with firm economy the strange lifelong relationship of a rich girl crippled during the 1918 influenza epidemic and the former Olympic athlete who saves, and forever alters, her life. A mixed bag, but the choicest morsels are well worth digging for.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780156031493
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 10/8/2007
  • Series: Best New American Voices Series
  • Pages: 428
  • Product dimensions: 5.25 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.95 (d)

Meet the Author

John Kulka is executive editor-at-large at Harvard University Press and lives in Connecticut.

Natalie Danford is a freelance writer and book critic whose work has appeared in People, Salon, the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Sun-Times, and many other publications. She is the author of a novel, Inheritance, and lives in New York City.

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Table of Contents

Contents
 
Preface    ix
Introduction by Richard Bausch             xiii
 
Alice by Tucker Capps          1
Inheritance by Jedediah Berry             42
Uncle by Suzanne Rivecca     58
The Man Who Ate Michael Rockefeller by Christopher Stokes             78
Quiet Men by Leslie Jamison                97
Early Humans by Garth Risk Hallberg                131
Horizon by Peter Mountford  160
Surfacing by Lauren Groff   176
Headlock by Dan Pinkerton 204
Mouse by Jordan McMullin   225
Alms by Razia Sultana Khan  243
Men More Than Mortal by Elizabeth Kadetsky                257
Men and Boys by Oriane Gabrielle Delfosse       277
The Wizard of Khao-I-Dang by Sharon May     301
Venn Diagram by David James Poissant             321
The Neon Desert by Adam Stumacher 338
No One Here Says What They Mean by Stefan McKinstray              363
Contributors           393
Participants             397

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