The Best American Short Stories 2009

The Best American Short Stories 2009


View All Available Formats & Editions
Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for guaranteed delivery by Tuesday, July 2


Edited by critically acclaimed, best-selling author Alice Sebold, the stories in this year's collection serve as a provacative literary "antenna for what is going on in the world" (Chicago Tribune). The collection boasts great variety from "famous to first-timers, sifted from major magazines and little reviews, grand and little worlds" (St. Louis Post-Dispatch), ensuring yet another rewarding, eduring edition of the oldest and best-selling Best American.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780618792252
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date: 10/08/2009
Series: Best American Short Stories Series
Pages: 368
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

HEIDI PITLOR is a former senior editor at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and has been the series editor for The Best American Short Stories since 2007. She is the author of the novels The Birthdays and The Daylight Marriage.


Long Beach, California

Date of Birth:

September 6, 1963

Place of Birth:

Madison, Wisconsin


B.A., Syracuse University; studied poetry, University of Houston, 1984-85; M.F.A. in fiction, UC-Irvine, 1998

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

The Best American Short Stories 2009 3.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
upstairsgirl on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Sebold's introduction made me thing that I'll never write well enough to be published anywhere, but the stories are all excellently-written, and at the back of the book, the authors talk briefly about what inspired them, which I found fascinating.
YogiABB on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
bought this book last Fall but didn't read it until recently. You know how it goes, so many books, so little time. I love short stories and I have been reading this series since the mid 8's. The 2010 edition should be coming out in October or so.This year's edition has some great stories."The Idiot President" by Daniel Alarcon -(No, it is not about W!)"Rubiaux Raising" by Steve de Jarnatt - A story that incorporates the war in Iraq and hurricane Katrina."Hurricanes" by Adam Johnson - (One guess which hurricane it refers to .)"Modulation" by Richard Powers - This story about music and viruses, and musica piracy is brilliant."Them Old Cowboy Songs" by Annie Proulx - Another story of the how hard life in the west was. This story is set back in the 1800's. Annie Proulx may be my favorite author. Many people don't realize that "Brokeback Mountain" was a short story by Proulx."Into the Gorge" by Ron Rash."The Peripatetic Coffin" by Ethan Rutherford. - A story incorporating the confederates submarine , the H.L. Hunley, used in the Civil War.If you don't want to buy the book, get a copy from your local library to read any of the above stories. I give this book a solid four stars out of five. It is great.
ShortStorySlore on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book starts off at a disadvantage because I have high expectations going into it. These should be the best short stories I've read all year (or at least that's how I approach it). After reading half of the book earlier this year, I gave up. None of these stories made me want to keep reading, I didn't get hooked on any characters or writing style, and each one made me feel "eh." But then I began to read, from the beginning, a couple of weeks ago. And each story I reread, I liked a whole lot more. Not to say I thought these were the best I've read all year, but that the first read through was so horrible and now the stories seemed decent. Not engaging. I don¿t know, maybe I just wasn¿t in a good reading mood the first time I picked up this book, but either way, the book fell a little flat for me. Some I didn¿t enjoy because of the endings. They started out strong and got me hooked, hitting the right emotional buttons and getting me to understand the characters, but the endings left me unfulfilled. Magic Words by Jill McCorkle had a few storylines, one of which sucked me in (the wife/mother planning her first affair), but the theme of magic words (please, thank you), the aubusive teenager, and the coyote seemed uneven. The Anniversary Trip by Victoria Lancelotta had the perfect tone of a woman on her last trip with her husband before leaving him, really hitting the wife's emotions and her lack of passion and effort for a marriage she knows has no future. But I find it helpful to like the main character, but that doesn't mean I have to picture myself being friends with this person if I were to ever meet them. A character has to stay true to him or herself and the only way to know that as a reader is to feel a connection to the character, to know this person in the story. That didn't happen in some of these, at least not for me. I felt disconnected to the main characters in The Idiot President, Rubiaux Rising, One Dog Year, and A Man Like Him, but at the same time I loved the formerly absent father Hurricanes Anonymous, neighbor girls and babysitter in The Farmlands, and the wife/mother in Magic Words. Some stories that stood out:Hurricanes Anonymous: more plot-driven that the rest ¿ shows the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and a father making a change in his lifeYurt: theme of making a decision and doing something ¿ anythingThe Shadow Table: odd relationship between an engaged couple which seems to revolve around only food and her being polite, the language and sentence structure, how the main character seems so real and consistent - second half not as greatThe Farmlands: voice of narrator and the two girls she watches ¿ realistic dialogue and believable characters and situationFavorite Piece: The Peripatetic Coffin by Ethan Rutherford. I love war stories and this is a first person account of a small group of men using submarines in warfare for the first time during the civil war. At this time, these things are deathtraps under the water ¿ little mistakes cause everyone in the sub to die (the first group drowns because the Lt. accidentally steps on a lever on his way into the sub). This is the story of the third group of guys going into the sub, knowing everyone who has gone before them died trapped in the sub. There¿s the heightened emotions, suspense, great descriptions (¿there¿s an explosion so deafening it¿s like tasting sound¿ "wore a look so far beyond stricken it resembled paralysis"), and a great ending! Every sentence rings true, and to be honest, I love stories told in first person. After reading this, I remembered what it¿s like getting sucked into a story and not being disappointed by any part of it. Overall, a couple of stories held my interest, but most fell flat or felt disjointed and didn't sound like the best of the best for 2009. It still won't stop me to purchasing 2010.
TheBentley on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
As you would expect of this kind of anthology, it's rather inconsistent. Some stories are better than others. Unfortunately, there are more mediocre or simply absurd stories than good ones in this collection. Much of this is due to the seemingly desperate search for variety, originality, and shallow timeliness. The standouts, which are specific in place and time but still seemingly timeless, make the book worth reading--or at least sampling. Unfortunately, there are too few of them. They include stories by Karl Taro Greenfeld, Eleanor Henderson, Victoria Lancelotta, Rebecca Makkai, Ron Rash, and (probably the best of the lot) Jill McCorkle.
rmostman on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Very few stories were enjoyable, and they were either very good or very bad. One common theme throughout the entire collection was no plot. I love characters and character development, but there was far too much character with plots that went nowhere. And not that the characters in the character-filled stories were even that great.The only reason I'm rating it 3 stars is for the few good stories in it: Sagittarius, The Farm, and a few others.I love the Best American Series, but this was the first short stories collection I have read, and I probably won't be doing it again.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Tunguz More than 1 year ago
"The Best American Short Stories" is, as they proudly like to point out on the cover, "best, first and best selling" collection of short stories published in the US over the preceding year. The second of these claims is of course entirely subjective, but there is no doubt that this series is one of the most respected and widely used anthologies of contemporary American short fiction. These anthologies give a snapshot of current trends in fiction writing, and are, for better or worse, representative of the writing styles and themes in this genre. The upside is that the stories that are collected here are without exception all written extremely well. On the other hand, sometimes the most interesting and original stories tend to be a bit rough on the edges and not too polished. Such stories almost never make it into a collection such as this one. In the recent years these collections tended to be predominantly filled with the "workshop-style" writing. The exception seemed to be last year's collection, The Best American Short Stories 2008. This collection was so far the only one where I felt that every single story was really, really good. I was hoping that maybe the series had permanently turned a new leaf, but based on this year's collection this doesn't seem to be entirely true. By and large, most of the stories in this collection are really good and interesting. This last point should not, unfortunately, be taken for granted any more when the quality of writing is judged these days. Oftentimes utterly mind numbingly boring stories are praised for their supposed literary merits, and several of those had made it into this collection. For some reason, most of the more boring stories happen to be the longer ones as well, which makes their reading quite tortuous. However, there are many good stories in this collection and their reading was quite rewarding. I will probably continue to read these collections in the upcoming years, and just take what I can get from them. At this point I've probably learned my lesson and I won't expect too much beyond impeccably crafted prose.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
DGofCF More than 1 year ago
I read every yearly edition of these short stories.... many of them become etched in my mind... just good reading!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I found the collection of stories incredibly odd. I thought some stories were completely unfinished and others left me wondering what in the heck just happened. I don't think I will ever buy anything like this again without reading a couple of the stories first to figure out what the Editor putting this together is trying to accomplish. Alice Sebold states at the beginning of the book that these stories push the envelope. I found them completely weird!