Prize Stories 1986: The O. Henry Awards

Prize Stories 1986: The O. Henry Awards

by William Miller Abrahams

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The tellers of these 19 tales constitute a pantheon of rising or already established young writers, including first-prize winner Alice Walker, with ``Kindred Spirits,'' a vignette about a young black woman returning home after divorcing her white husband, and special-award winner Joyce Carol Oates, whose ``Master Race'' recounts in spare and elegant prose the sexual assault in Germany of a youngish American academic by a black G.I. In many ways more compelling, however, are Bobbie Ann Mason's ``Big Bertha Stories,'' a blinding insight into the mind of a man hounded by memories of Vietnam; John L'Heureux's ``The Comedian,'' a metaphysical tour de force about a standup comic who becomes pregnant with a baby whose blithe in utero singing drowns out the arguments for abortion; Stephanie Vaughn's ``Kid MacArthur,'' a boy growing up in an army family, learning to use guns before pencils, reluctantly going off to war and returning a militant vegetarian, shrinking from any violation of flesh. These and several other stories capture and involve the reader: they are written with grace, authority and bitter knowledge, and despite their verbal brevity cast a long shadow that is deeply etched and hard to dispel. BOMC selection. (April)
Library Journal - Library Journal
This 66th volume in the O. Henry-award series gives first prize to ``Kindred Spirits,'' a personal, subtle story of family perceptions by Alice Walker. The collection also contains solid entries by such well-known authors as Alice Adams, Bobbie Ann Mason, Gordon Lish, and Joyce Carol Oates (who is honored with a Special Award for Continuing Achievement for her haunting story ``Master Race''). There are also some gems from newcomers: for example, Deborah Eisenberg's ``Transactions in a Foreign Currency,'' set in chilly Montreal, follows a woman's poignant realization of her lover's inability to commit himself to her. So: nothing sizzling, but many finely crafted pieces forming a most worthwhile whole. Ann H. Fisher, Radford P.L., Va.

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Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.50(d)

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