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Proving that the term best is subjective, the editors of Prize Stories and Best American Short Stories (BASS) have selected entirely different lists to represent the highest-quality American short stories appearing last year. Only Carolyn Cooke has stories on both lists. Guest editor Proulx has added a new twist to BASS by grouping the stories into four broad categories. Rather than showing us the similarity of the selections, it demonstrates the complexity present in today's literary fiction and how the human concerns that manifest themselves in stories appear unique, owing to each author's voice and perspective. With new editor Dark, Prize Stories has expanded the number of magazines from which it selects, including for the first time Canadian authors and publications. Selected alongside familiar names like Alice Munro and John Barth are exciting new voices like Arthur Bradford and Thomas Glave. Both BASS and Prize Stories belong in most fiction collections. In the Signet title, "best" refers to best sellers, as Signet celebrates its 50th anniversary by printing new stories by blockbuster authors such as Stephen King, Ed McBain, and Erica Jong. As popular fiction is a different animal from literary fiction; only two or three of the included stories would ever be found in a literary journal. Instead, we find diverting stories that easily fit into genres like mystery, suspense, or romance. For popular collections.?Christine DeZelar-Tiedman, Univ. of Idaho Lib., Moscow
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Over 80 years old, this admirable series might consider a new rule: No stories included that will appear in book form before the "best" volume does. The latest entry features quite a few already reviewed by Kirkus as parts of story collections (Lydia Davis, Junot D¡az, Tobias Wolff, Tim Gautreaux, etc.) and even novels (by Cynthia Ozick and Clyde Edgerton). That caveat aside, Proulx selects stories from almost all major venues, which makes series editor Kenison's ramblings about on-line mags, none represented, a bit silly. Combative and feisty, Proulx clearly prefers more conventional narrative forms, though the subjects here are free-ranging. Standouts include Jonathan Franzen's ``Chez Lambert,'' a deft piece about an elderly couple and their daily lives in retirement. Equally textured and subtle is Jeffrey Eugenides's ``Air Mail,'' a chronicle of its narrator's post-collegiate Wanderjahr, which takes him to the East and an apparent experience of spiritual ecstasy. Heavily determined by place are Pam Durban's southern family tale ``Soon,'' about the legacies of tough-minded women; Donald Hall's anti-nostalgic ``From Willow Temple,'' spanning the century in Michigan and revealing the secret passions of some unforgiving people; and Alison Hagy's ``Search Bay,'' set on Michigan's Upper Peninsula and neatly reflecting the harsh life of its central figure, a retired seaman who lives alone. Richard Bausch defines the humor here with his hilarious ``Nobody in Hollywood,'' about two wayward brothers and the difficult women they encounter. Karen E. Bender's ``Eternal Love'' provides a touching counterpoint with its tale of two retarded adults getting married. Michelle Cliff and T.C. Boyle, both writers with heavy hands, consider the ironies of race and colonialism (Cliff) and the pro-life movement (Boyle). All in all, a strong sampling of what the major magazines (the New Yorker, Paris Review, GQ, etc.) are publishing these days. -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product Description