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The Best American Short Stories 1991

The Best American Short Stories 1991

by Alice Adams (Editor), Katrina Kenison (Editor)

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The first sentence of the first story in this collection--``We used to go to bars, the really seedy ones, to find our fights''--lures the reader with its promise of a strange and unfamiliar world. The selection, by Rick Bass, does not disappoint, taking us on a tour of ``backwoods nightspots'' where an aspiring fighter trains for a career in the big city. Story after story--there are 20 in all--matches Bass's opening gambit, with a dazzling mix of telling details and poignant character portraits. There are Charles D'Ambrosio Jr.'s 13-year-old protagonist who must escort his mother's drunken friend to her home; the woman in Siri Hustvedt's tale who enters a hospital because of a months-old migraine and whose neighbor, an old woman, one day climbs in bed with her and begins kissing her passionately; the sullen teenager, created by David Jauss, whose father is fired for embezzling, then hospitalized for a nervous breakdown. Ashamed, the son blurts out to a friend that his father died of a brain tumor; years later, a father himself, the son reflects, ``I had always loved my father, though behind his back, without letting him know it. And in a way, behind my back, too.'' Adams wrote Second Chances. (Nov.)
Library Journal - Library Journal
Like others in the series, this volume is doubly delightful, thanks to extended ``Contributors' Notes'' that include commentary from each author in addition to the usual (and often numbingly similar) biographical data. In her note, Kate Braverman opines that writing is like hunting--most days you come back with nothing more than cold toes and an aching heart, and then every once in a while you bag something sizable. All the stories collected here seem big: big in scope, big in achievement. A character in Millicent Dillon's ``Oil and Water'' thinks about levels of maleness--friendly maleness, sexual maleness, violent maleness, and so on--and, in one way or another, each of these 20 stories plumbs the various levels of ordinary people's attitudes and experiences. Truly a bravura performance, this is for most libraries.-- David Kirby, Florida State Univ., Tallahassee

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Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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Best American Short Stories Series

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