The Best American Essays 1994

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
What's best about these essays is their diversity, both of content and approach. From Nicholson Baker's wittily erudite discourse on punctuation (``Are the marks that we have right now really enough?'' he wonders) to Mark Kramer's report on how Muscovites in post-Communist Russia spend their weekends (``Entire families flee''), this collection is equal parts literary achievement and manual for the autodidact. Kidder has included essays on art, literature, science and performing orangutans in Las Vegas, courtesy of established writers including, respectively, Adam Gopnik, David Denby, Stephen Jay Gould and Vicki Hearne. Among the strongest pieces are journalistic essays covering current events. Ted Conover writes a compelling account of his travels with truck drivers in AIDS-ridden East Africa, where his companions claim that ``If you sleep with a virgin it will often take away your AIDS''; and Darcy Frey provides an in-depth look at the painfully exploitative relationship between high school athletes in the ghettos of Coney Island and the college basketball recruiters who alternately woo and ignore them. Of the few personal essays Kidder included, two that deserve special mention are those by Lucy Grealy and Lauren Slater, both of whom have created stunning pieces on the self-absorbed topic of self-image. (Nov.)
Library Journal
This edition of the year's outstanding essays, the ninth in a distinguished series, is characterized by its eclectic nature both in author and subject matter. Entries include autobiographical, critical, and journalistic essays on such diverse topics as Nicholson Baker's humorous history of punctuation, an account of long-distance truckers, Ted Conover's piece on the AIDS epidemic in Rwanda, and Louise Erdrich's encounter with a skunk when she was 14. Edited by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Tracy Kidder, these essays capture the concern, thoughts, and pulse of 1994, from Lucy Grealy's personal account of living with disfigurement to David Denby's defense of the literary canon. This anthology should win some converts to the essay form since it provides informative and exciting reading from some of America's most talented prose writers, many of whom have won awards for the contributions. Strongly recommended for all libraries.-Nancy R. Ives, SUNY-Genesco
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780395692530
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 11/3/1994
  • Series: Best American Essays Series
  • Pages: 382
  • Product dimensions: 5.47 (w) x 8.22 (h) x 0.91 (d)

Meet the Author

Tracy Kidder
Tracy Kidder
Tracy Kidder has won the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, and the Robert F. Kennedy Award, among other literary prizes. The author of The Soul of a New Machine, House, Among Schoolchildren, Old Friends, and Home Town, Kidder lives in Massachusetts and Maine.
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