The Best American Short Stories 1995

Overview

Marking the eightieth anniversary of The Best American Short Stories, the 1995 volume triumphantly confirms that the short story is as inviting and ambitious today as it was decades ago. Contributors' names may have changed, but this collection endures as a showcase for some of our most talented writers. With a taste for the "sharp and exotic," this year's guest editor, Jane Smiley, has served up a veritable smorgasbord of literary delights, arranged "so that the flavors enhance one another as the feast ...
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Overview

Marking the eightieth anniversary of The Best American Short Stories, the 1995 volume triumphantly confirms that the short story is as inviting and ambitious today as it was decades ago. Contributors' names may have changed, but this collection endures as a showcase for some of our most talented writers. With a taste for the "sharp and exotic," this year's guest editor, Jane Smiley, has served up a veritable smorgasbord of literary delights, arranged "so that the flavors enhance one another as the feast progresses. Brought to the table are works by recognized masters: an outrageous journey into Africa from Thom Jones; haunting explorations of childhood's uncertain terrain from Ellen Gilchrist and Jamaica Kincaid; a miracle in the South Bronx from Don DeLillo; and a powerhouse of crafty conversations from Stephen Dobyns. Readers will savor new stories from Joy Williams, Kate Braverman, and Gish Jen and sample rich pieces from newcomers, including Jennifer C. Cornell's and Peter Ho Davies's multilayered tales of transatlantic families; Daniel Orozco's hilarious whirlwind tour of a new office; and Steven Polansky's heartrending story, "Leg," about the lengths a parent will travel for a defiant teenager.

Every autumn, readers of short stories eagerly look forward to the chance to discover their favorite writers and new talents in this preeminent anthology of short fiction. This year's edition features works by Don DeLillo, Ellen Gilchrist, Thom Jones, Joy Williams, Stephen Dobyns, Kate Braverman, Jamaica Kincaid, and many others. "Expect to be entertained, provoked, astonished."--San Diego Tribune.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Smiley, this year's editor, has drawn together an eclectic and powerful selection of stories that makes this an exemplary introduction to a consistently reliable annual anthology. The writers included here range from the well-established to the completely unknown, with a full half of the authors included yet to publish a book with a major press. Equally exciting as the discovery of a new writer can be the thrill of seeing an established writer break new ground, as happens in Don DeLillo's ``The Angel Esmeralda,'' which involves an old nun, an abandoned young girl and an apparent miracle in the South Bronx. Making his fourth consecutive appearance in the collection, Thom Jones uses his usual cast of wired and edgy characters, along with the extraordinary comic personality of George Babbitt, a pet baboon with a fondness for Canadian Mist whiskey in ``Way Down Deep in the Jungle.'' Among the newer writers, standouts include Avner Mandelman, whose ``Pity'' is a taut story about Israeli secret agents out to capture a Nazi living in Paris, and Edward Falco, the author of ``The Artist,'' in which a man must outsmart desperate figures from his past. This is a rich and rewarding collection that provides ample confirmation of both the diversity of American life and the vitality of the contemporary short story. (Nov.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780395711798
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 11/15/1995
  • Series: Best American Short Stories Series
  • Pages: 366
  • Product dimensions: 5.59 (w) x 8.33 (h) x 1.03 (d)

Meet the Author

Jane Smiley
Jane Smiley
Jane Smiley's power as a writer lies in her ability to evoke her chosen milieu, no matter how far-flung. The Pulitzer winner is able to vary her settings -- from 14th-century Greenland to a modern-day college campus -- as well as her tone, never missing a beat.

Biography

Jane smiley is the author of many novels, including A Thousand Acres, which won the Pulitzer Prize, and Horse Heaven. She lives in Northern California. In 2001, she was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Author biography courtesy of Random House, Inc.

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    1. Hometown:
      Northern California
    1. Date of Birth:
      September 26, 1949
    2. Place of Birth:
      Los Angeles, California
    1. Education:
      B.A. in English, Vassar College, 1971; M.A., Iowa University, 1975; M.F.A, 1976; Ph.D., 1978

Table of Contents

Foreword
Introduction
Orientation 1
Way down Deep in the Jungle 7
The Stucco House 31
A Night's Work 45
Pity 67
Leg 80
The Ugliest House in the World 94
Birthmates 110
The Drowning 126
Honored Guest 141
The Behavior of the Hawkweeds 156
Hand Jive 175
So I Guess You Know What I Told Him 195
Undertow 210
Pagan Night 231
First, Body 243
The Angel Esmeralda 263
The Artist 284
Chiromancy 302
Xuela 313
Contributors' Notes 332
100 Other Distinguished Stories of 1994 349
Editorial Addresses of American and Canadian Magazines Publishing Short Stories 353
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