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The Available Press/PEN Short Story Collection
     

The Available Press/PEN Short Story Collection

by Alice Adams
 

A curated selection of short fiction by some of the most talented American writers at work today

There was a time when newspaper readers could round out breakfast with a slice of fiction by such well-known writers as Henry James and Mark Twain or Sarah Orne Jewett. Sometimes the newspaper introduced them to a newcomer, such as F. Scott Fitzgerald. But over

Overview

A curated selection of short fiction by some of the most talented American writers at work today

There was a time when newspaper readers could round out breakfast with a slice of fiction by such well-known writers as Henry James and Mark Twain or Sarah Orne Jewett. Sometimes the newspaper introduced them to a newcomer, such as F. Scott Fitzgerald. But over the years the short story drifted into literary magazines, and as many of those publications faded into obscurity, it looked as if short fiction might go the way of the dinosaur. Now, thanks to the PEN Syndicated Fiction Project, sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts Literature Program, the short story is back where it belongs—in the daily newspapers.

The eighty-three stories here were chosen in the first round of an ongoing competition by a panel of distinguished writers—Ann Beattie, Robert Stone, Anne Tyler, Russell Baker, and Kurt Vonnegut—and then submitted to a group of participating newspapers. Each paper was free to publish whichever stories it found most appropriate for its readers.

As Anne Tyler writes in her introduction: “It is astonishing that there are so many skilled and gifted writers at work in just this one country, in just this one period of time. When I finished choosing them, and packed up the stories and sent them off, it was something like sending off a crowd of house guests.”

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
These 83 stories were originally chosen by a distinguished panel of writers and then submitted to participating newspaper editors, who were free to publish any works they liked; eventually, nine million readers had access to fine fiction along with the usual journalistic fare. There are very few misses here: the average piece is sharply focused, ironic, and economically written. In Allen Gurganus's ``A Public Denial,'' for example, a man drives across a pond underwater but drowns when, in his excitement trying to get to a telephone, he loses control and lands in a second pond, this time with the windows down. Unlike that experiment, however, this anthology is both bold and successful. David Kirby, English Dept., Florida State Univ., Tallahassee

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780345321268
Publisher:
Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
10/12/1985
Pages:
512
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.00(d)

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