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New Stories from the South: The Year's Best 2006
     

New Stories from the South: The Year's Best 2006

by Kathy Pories (Editor), ZZ Packer, Allan Gurganus (Editor)
 

This year, acclaimed short-story writer ZZ Packer chooses twenty distinctive stories representing the great number of voices and narratives coming out of the South. Some of the youngest and freshest talents on the literary horizon—Bret Anthony Johnston, Kevin Brockmeier, Holly Goddard Jones—accompany well-known Southern stalwarts, including Pinckney

Overview

This year, acclaimed short-story writer ZZ Packer chooses twenty distinctive stories representing the great number of voices and narratives coming out of the South. Some of the youngest and freshest talents on the literary horizon—Bret Anthony Johnston, Kevin Brockmeier, Holly Goddard Jones—accompany well-known Southern stalwarts, including Pinckney Benedict, Clyde Edgerton, and Ron Rash. Their stories tell of life as it is now, a life not seen in romanticized Southern fiction, one where existence—both urban and rural—is as raw and risky as it is alluring. The energy of this collection courses through every one of Packer's edgy, funny, and gritty selections.

Editorial Reviews

The Charleston Post and Courier
“A formidable and diverse group of talent between the covers of a single volume.” —The Charleston Post and Courier
Pages Magazine
“The absolute best in short literary fiction.”—Pages magazine
O the Oprah magazine
"For 20 years, the spectacular Shannon Ravenel edited New Stories from the South, an annual collection of the best regional fiction. Extolling writers who favor risk-taking ('broadjumps into the great unknown'), Ravenel's successor, novelist Allan Gurganus (no mean risk-taker himself), presents stories as offbeat as Cary Holladay's chilling anatomy of racism, 'The Burning,' and Keith Lee Morris's eerie odyssey, 'Tired Heart.' Tradition with an edgy, modern twist."
O, the Oprah magazine
the Oprah magazine O
"For 20 years, the spectacular Shannon Ravenel edited New Stories from the South, an annual collection of the best regional fiction. Extolling writers who favor risk-taking ('broadjumps into the great unknown'), Ravenel's successor, novelist Allan Gurganus (no mean risk-taker himself), presents stories as offbeat as Cary Holladay's chilling anatomy of racism, 'The Burning,' and Keith Lee Morris's eerie odyssey, 'Tired Heart.' Tradition with an edgy, modern twist."
O, the Oprah magazine
Miami Herald
"New Stories from the South is a literary anthology of the all-star variety."
Miami Herald
Atlanta Journal Constitution
"….One of the pleasures of reading "New Stories From the South," year after year, is discovering new talent, writers who have not yet published a book. . . . In "New Stories From the South 2007 —- The Year's Best," Edward P. Jones' story sense pays off."—Atlanta Journal Constitution
The Washington Post
"A suitably hospitable anthology, with an author comment, beneath his or her photo, at the end of each story." —Washington Post
USA Today
"This is an evocative selection of 18 stories for those sons and daughters of the South who yearn for fiction that eschews the moonlight-and-magnolias claptrap. In his excellent introduction, novelist Edward P. Jones (The Known World) explores his original discomfort at being asked to edit a book of Southern short stories since he is a native of Washington, D.C. He asks: How do we define the South today? Traditional big hitters are featured: Rick Bass, James Lee Burke, Alan Gurganus and Tim Gautreaux, whose "The Safe" is outstanding. But the real excitement is reading stories by up-and-coming writers, such as National Book Award finalist Joshua Ferris.”—USA Today
From the Publisher
"This is an evocative selection of 18 stories for those sons and daughters of the South who yearn for fiction that eschews the moonlight-and-magnolias claptrap. In his excellent introduction, novelist Edward P. Jones (The Known World) explores his original discomfort at being asked to edit a book of Southern short stories since he is a native of Washington, D.C. He asks: How do we define the South today? Traditional big hitters are featured: Rick Bass, James Lee Burke, Alan Gurganus and Tim Gautreaux, whose "The Safe" is outstanding. But the real excitement is reading stories by up-and-coming writers, such as National Book Award finalist Joshua Ferris.”—USA Today
Library Journal
From the hilarious, insightful introduction by Gurganus (Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All) to the final story, N.M. Kelby's "Jubilation, Florida," a sad, middle-aged love story, the 21st annual collection in this series just sparkles. Several familiar and well-established authors (e.g., Wendell Berry, Nanci Kincaid) are sprinkled among some new and sometimes experimental writers. Enid Shomer's "Fill in the Blank" follows damaged young Garland in New York City on her own from little Sweetheart, FL, through petty crimes with a remorseful roommate. Former sportswriter Chris Bachelder tells the backstory of a small-town basketball team's loss in the district tournament in the style of a sports report in "Blue Knights Bounced from CVD Tourney." Luke Whisnant's "How To Build a House" is a log of a do-it-yourselfer that reveals more about the builder than the mistakes he made along the way. A true celebration of short stories; recommended for all larger collections. Ann H. Fisher, Radford P.L., VA Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
The spirit of play is at work in this lively latest crop of Southern stories gamely chosen by fiction-writer Gurganus (The Practical Heart, 2001, etc.), whose own work has appeared in the series. Skillful vernacular storytelling and writing with heart mark many of these selections, such as R.T. Smith's "Tastes Like Chicken," which imagines the entrancing, albeit lonely livelihood of a snake-catcher whose wife eventually leaves him for a larger (and less menacing) life. Nanci Kincaid's "The Currency of Love" depicts beautifully a prickly relationship between a mother hospitalized for a breast biopsy and her divorced daughter, while Daniel Wallace's "Justice" hilariously evokes the biblical sacrifice of Isaac by his father Abraham in a story about a father's decision to kill his son for taking the last tissue in the box. Two stories about dogs prove surprisingly moving: Wendell Berry's "Mike" describes the transcendent convergence of a farmer, his land and his dog; and Mary Helen Stefaniak's "You Love That Dog" tracks a troubled marriage through the husband's decision to shoot his beloved dog because he keeps running away. Keith Lee Morris's unusual "Tired Heart" is an elegiac sojourn from South Carolina to Puget Sound in the voice of a young married man hired to transport parcels for an anonymous, increasingly exacting employer. J.D. Chapman's "Amanuensis" touchingly renders the inner life of a tubercular war vet in 1917 moved to a hospital in North Carolina, and Cary Holladay's "The Burning" envisions the horrific fate of an 18th-century Virginia slave burned at the stake for the murder of her master. Gurganus maintains a buoyant mix of gravitas and levity, and in histongue-in-cheek introduction, lists the kinds of stories with stock "Southerly" ingredients that he has spared the reader, i.e., those with arbitrary phonetic spelling, village interaction, impending gun violence, pan-generational sex, "plus a traffic-pile-up run-on-sentence construction lacking any Faulknerian suspension-bridge engineering."Altogether a delight to savor.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781565125315
Publisher:
Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill
Publication date:
09/28/2006
Series:
New Stories from the South Ser.
Pages:
368
Product dimensions:
5.92(w) x 8.92(h) x 1.07(d)

Meet the Author

Allan Gurganus’s first novel, Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All, was a New York Times bestseller and has been translated into twelve languages. His novel White People was the winner of the Los Angeles Book Prize and was a PEN/Faulkner finalist, and his short fiction has appeared in The New Yorker, the Atlantic, and the Paris Review and has been anthologized in the The O. Henry Prize Stories, The Best American Short Stories, The Norton Anthology of Short Fiction, and New Stories from the South. He is a 2006 John Simon Guggenheim Fellow.

Z.Z. Packer's first collection, Drinking Coffee Elsewhere, was a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award, and a New York Times Notable Book, and was selected by John Updike for the Today Show Book Club. She has been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship for fiction, a Whiting Writers' Award, and a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers' Award. Packer is on the faculty of California College of the Arts, and her stories have been anthologized in Best American Short Stories and New Stories from the South.

Kathy Pories earned her B.A. and Ph.D. in English Literature at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She taught in the English Department at UNC and at Elon University before joining Algonquin in 1995. She lives in Durham, North Carolina.

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