Sunday, June 7, 2015

Contemporary Fiction: 50 Short Stories Since 1970

I stumbled across this hardcover in a second-hand store and heard its whisper: "Buy me. You won't be sorry."

It was right. The book has held me spellbound from the first story onward, Sherman Alexie's This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona. There is not a false note in the volume, as far as I can tell, and I'm six stories in. Given the breathtaking quality of the work thus far, I wondered about the selection method used by the editors. The sell copy reads:

"A collection of stories chosen based on the results of a survey of more than 200 literature professors, award-winning writers, and the directors of prestigious writing workshops."

Mystery solved. This, then, is a compelling assemblage of 50 master classes in brilliant, unforgettable short fiction written over the past half-century, some by people you've heard of (Margaret Atwood, Raymond Carver, Annie Proulx) and some by others less brand-name-y (Alexie, Toni Cade Bambara). If you love great writing, you need to buy this book. You won't be sorry, either. Here's the Amazon link.