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The Best American Short Stories 2018 (The Best American Series ®) Paperback – October 2, 2018
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“I am looking for the artful way any given story is conveyed,” writes Roxane Gay in her introduction to The Best American Short Stories 2018, “but I also love when a story has a powerful message, when a story teaches me something about the world.” The artful, profound, and sometimes funny stories Gay chose for the collection transport readers from a fraught family reunion to an immigration detention center, from a psychiatric hospital to a coed class sleepover in a natural history museum. We meet a rebellious summer camper, a Twitter addict, and an Appalachian preacher—all characters and circumstances that show us what we “need to know about the lives of others.”
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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.
- Publisher : Mariner Books; 1st Edition (October 2, 2018)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 336 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0544582942
- ISBN-13 : 978-0544582941
- Item Weight : 10.9 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.5 x 0.79 x 8.25 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #136,030 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Most of the 1 and 2-star reviews have something in common. Have you noticed?
I'm not surprised by some of the commentary I've read about the anthology. Disappointed, yes, but not surprised. I've read reviews centering on how people don't think these stories deserve the title "best of" because they are too political, because they are not written like other good short stories are, because they sound different, and, of course, because 'the only reason these stories were chosen was because Roxane Gay wanted to choose political stories.'
Here is what I say to those readers: being political and being good are NOT mutually exclusive. And, furthermore: most of these stories aren't overtly political. Having diverse characters does not equal a polemic against the current administration.
This is the first of the "Best of" series where I wasn't completely overwhelmed by the male, able-bodied WASPiness of it all. BASS 2018 is not about what IS traditionally considered "good" literary fiction. It is about what SHOULD be considered good literary fiction. It is about stories and voices that are glorious and beautiful but have been overlooked again and again by literature as a collective. The stories here experiment with structure, with voice, with point of view and with subject matter.
Most of the time, I end up enjoying between 1/3 and 1/2 of the stories per BASS collection.
This year, I enjoyed all but two or three, and that was mostly because they just weren't the style I enjoy reading – stepping back as a reader, from a craft standpoint they were quite strong.
I strongly encourage readers and writers alike to pick up this anthology. It is perfect for teaching craft, and showcases a variety of voices and POVs: great for classrooms with a wide range of writerly sensibilities.
Ms. Gay would do well to forgo political rants about President Trump. Politics may have a place in literature, but only if it’s organic. Instead, literally within the first five sentences, she makes a hysterical attack on Trump without supporting her accusations with even one fact.
Kindly save the lectures and virtue signaling and focus on what’s important, quality storytelling.