Best New American Voices

Overview

The best new American voices are heard here first:
Writers like 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 new volume features a new crop of promising stories selected by renowned novelist Jane Smiley, who continues the tradition of...

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Overview

The best new American voices are heard here first:
Writers like 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 new volume features a new crop of promising stories selected by renowned novelist Jane Smiley, who continues the tradition of identifying the best young writers on the cusp of their careers. Culled from hundreds of writing programs like the Iowa Writers' Workshop and Johns Hopkins and from summer conferences like Sewanee and Bread Loaf-and including a complete list of contact information for these programs-this exciting collection showcases tomorrow's literary stars.

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Editorial Reviews

Booklist
"Extraordinarily wellcrafted and intense. Aspiring writers will learn a great deal from this exciting collection."—Booklist
From the Publisher
PRAISE FOR THE BEST NEW AMERICAN VOICES SERIES

"This book reminds us of the range of imagination and experience informing fiction today."—Chicago Tribune (Editor's Choice)

"These stories serve as a heads-up for readers interested in emerging talent."—The Hartford Courant

Kirkus
"Impressive craftsmanship and high imaginative quality distinguish an annual that's becoming an essential."
Kirkus Reviews
Many roads are traveled in this sixth gathering of the best stories culled from the nation's writing programs and conferences. Novelist and critic Smiley (Thirteen Ways of Looking at the Novel, p. 782) approvingly notes the benefits such institutions offer to both writers and readers-and there's indeed much to stimulate readers' brains in the range of subjects and effects these 15 stories encompass. Unfamiliar cultures and faraway places are explored in Matt Friedson's depiction of life in, and out of, a "Reeducation Center for Delinquent Youths" in wartime Vietnam ("Liberty") and Jessica Anthony's claustrophobic monologue spoken by a U.S. World War II soldier stranded in a South Pacific jungle ("The Rust Preventer"). In alien cultures closer to home, Melanie Westerberg delineates the complex emotions of a female aquarium worker attracted by the sleek beauty of sharks ("Watermark"), and Andrew Foster Altschul's conflicted narrator wrestles with mingled empathy and rage at a shelter for abused women ("A New Kind of Gravity"). Conventional narrative is deliberately fragmented by the sexually confused California slacker who narrates Albert E. Martinez's "Useless Beauty . . ." (a story spun from an Esquire magazine feature) and in Kaui Hart Hemmings's story of an alienated girl's attempts to describe her feelings about her drug-dealing father ("Begin with an Outline"). Realism is eschewed altogether in Jennifer Shaff's ruefully comic picture of a bereaved phys-ed teacher whose grief is healed by a "visitation" from Star Trek's Mr. Spock ("Leave of Absence"). It's equaled, perhaps surpassed by, Michelle Regalado Deatrick's beautifully paced revelation of a lonely boy's guilt over theaccident that destroyed his family and shaped his later life ("Backfire"). This little masterpiece stands out among several varied depictions of filial conflict (Amber Dermont's "Lyndon," Gegory Plemmons's plaintive "Twinless") and family unhappiness (Sian M. Jones's "Pilot," Sean Ennis's "Going After Lovely"). Impressive craftsmanship and high imaginative quality distinguish an annual that's becoming an essential.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780156029018
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 10/1/2005
  • Series: Best New American Voices Series
  • Pages: 326
  • Product dimensions: 5.25 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.73 (d)

Meet the Author

JANE SMILEY is the author of many novels, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning A Thousand Acres. She lives in northern California.

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.

Biography

Jane smiley is the author of many novels, including A Thousand Acres, which won the Pulitzer Prize, and Horse Heaven. She lives in Northern California. In 2001, she was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Author biography courtesy of Random House, Inc.

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    1. Hometown:
      Northern California
    1. Date of Birth:
      September 26, 1949
    2. Place of Birth:
      Los Angeles, California
    1. Education:
      B.A. in English, Vassar College, 1971; M.A., Iowa University, 1975; M.F.A, 1976; Ph.D., 1978

Table of Contents

Preface vii
Introduction by Jane Smiley

Leave of Absence by Jennifer Shaff

Lyndon by Amber Dermont

A New Kind of Gravity by Andrew Foster Altschul

The Rust Preventer by Jessica Anthony

Trampoline by Vanya Rainova

Watermark by Melanie Westerberg

Useless Beauty OR Notes on ESQUIRE's "Things a Man Should Never Do After the Age of 30" by Albert E. Martinez

The Jupiter's In by Sarah Blackman

Alice's House by Jamie Keene

Liberty by Matt Freidson

Twinless by Gregory Plemmons

Backfire by Michelle Regalado Deatrick

Begin with an Outline by Kaui Hart Hemmings

Going After Lovely by Sean Ennis

Pilot by Sian M. Jones

Contributors
Participants

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