The Best American Short Stories of the Eighties

The Best American Short Stories of the Eighties

by Shannon Ravenel
     
 

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The 1980s were one of the most fertile and controversial times for the Amer ican short story. Rich in craft and variety, this collection includes such c lassic and beloved stories as Peter Taylor's "The Old Forest," Raymond Carver's "Cathedral," and other works by Joyce Carol Oates, Russell Banks, and a host of exciting, newer talents.

Overview

The 1980s were one of the most fertile and controversial times for the Amer ican short story. Rich in craft and variety, this collection includes such c lassic and beloved stories as Peter Taylor's "The Old Forest," Raymond Carver's "Cathedral," and other works by Joyce Carol Oates, Russell Banks, and a host of exciting, newer talents.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Ravenel picked these 20 pieces from 200 chosen by a decade's worth of guest editors of The Best American Short Stories , of which she is series editor, and rightly offers them as evidence of a renaissance of the short story. While the selection of 20 ``best'' stories of any given decade is a necessarily arbitrary endeavor, this anthology for the most part offers masterpieces, high points from long and influential careers--Raymond Carver, Donald Barthelme, Joyce Carol Oates and Cynthia Ozick--although several authors who earned their reputations during the past decade, such as Bharati Mukherjee, are also featured. The range of styles and subjects is astounding. In Carver's minimalist ``Cathedral,'' a blind guest restores his host's capacity to notice the world around him. An eponymous shawl becomes a source of nourishment, protection, even communication for a mother and daughter in a concentration camp in Ozick's symbolic yet painfully realistic tale. However, the brief prefaces to each selection here are distracting and invasive--best read after the stories they introduce, if at all. (May)
Library Journal
These 20 stories were selected by series editor Ravenel from those printed in the previous ten editions of The Best American Short Stories. Among them is John Updike's ``Deaths of Distant Friends,'' whose narrator discovers that losing those who knew him best is in some ways a blessing. In ``The Way We Live Now,'' Susan Sontag offers a disturbing account of how AIDS ravages the basic fabric of human relationships. Paul Bowles writes with characteristic polish and masterful understatement in ``In the Red Room,'' the story of an expatriate who takes his parents on an innocent sightseeing trip that brings them perilously close to discovering a terrible truth. In ``The Management of Grief,'' Bharati Mukherjee explores the tunnels of pain navigated by a widow whose husband and sons are victims of an act of terrorism. The variety of styles and themes in this collection ably reflects the talents and versatility of the short story writers of our day. Highly recommended.-- Francis Poole, Kentucky Wesleyan Coll., Owensboro

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780395522233
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
05/25/1990
Series:
Best American Short Stories Series
Pages:
393
Product dimensions:
5.63(w) x 8.26(h) x 1.23(d)

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