The Best American Short Stories 2011: Selected from U.S. and Canadian Magazines

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Geraldine Brooks, Heidi Pitlor
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2011 - Fiction - 363 pages
3 Reviews

In her introduction to The Best American Short Stories 2011, Geraldine Brooks draws the comparison between a well-told joke and a good short story. She writes, Each form relies on suggestion and economy. Characters have to be drawn in a few deft strokes. There s generally a setup, a reveal, a reversal, and a release . . . In the joke and in the short story, the beginning and end are precisely anchored tent poles, and what lies between must pull so taut it twangs.

The twenty tightly crafted stories collected here are full of deftly drawn characters, universal truths, and often, like good jokes, surprising humor. Richard Powers s To the Measures Fall is a comic meditation on the uses of literature in the course of a life. In the satirical The Sleep, Caitlin Horrocks puts her fictional prairie town to bed the inhabitants hibernate through the long winter as a form of escape while in Steve Millhauser s imagined town the citizens are visited by ghostlike apparitions in The Phantoms. Allegra Goodman s spare but beautiful La Vita Nuova finds a jilted fiancee letting her art class paint all over her wedding dress as a poignant act of release. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie wryly captures the social change in the air in Lagos, Nigeria, in her story of a wealthy young man who is not entirely at ease with what his life has become.

As Brooks pursued these richly imagined and varied landscapes she found that it was like walking into the best kind of party, where you can hole up in a corner with old friends for a while, then launch out among interesting strangers.
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User Review  - patronus11 - LibraryThing

This wonderful series is always a mixed bag by its nature, but kudos to the editors for always including a variety so there is something for every taste. That must be a challenge. There wasn't much to ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - YogiABB - LibraryThing

I love short stories and look forward to the each year's edition of the Best American Short Stories comes out. Each year there is a different editor and it is interesting to see what they pick. Also ... Read full review

Contents

Ceiling
1
Housewifely Arts
14
A Bridge Under Water
32
Out of Body
56
Free Fruit for Young Widows
74
La Vita Nuova
87
Gurov in Manhattan
96
The Sleep
104
Phantoms
210
Dog Bites
231
ID
244
To the Measures Fall
262
The Call of Blood
276
Escape from Spiderhead
300
The Hares Mask
323
Contributors Notes
331

Soldier of Fortune
119
Foster
136
The Dungeon Master
163
Peter Torrelli Falling Apart
179
Property
193
Other Distinguished Stories of 2010
345
Editorial Addresses of Americanand Canadian MagazinesPublishing Short Stories
349
Back Cover
365
Spine
366
Copyright

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About the author (2011)

Geraldine Brooks was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in fiction in 2006 for her novel March . Her first novel, Year of Wonders , is an international bestseller, and her novel People of the Book was a New York Times bestseller translated into 20 languages. She is also the author of the nonfiction works Nine Parts of Desire and Foreign Correspondence . 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.

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