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Best American Short Stories 2013 [Anglais] [Broché]

Elizabeth Strout , Heidi Pitlor

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Description de l'ouvrage

8 octobre 2013 Best American
“As our vision becomes more global, our storytelling is stretching in many ways. Stories increasingly change point of view, switch location, and sometimes pack as much material as a short novel might,” writes guest editor Elizabeth Strout. “It’s the variety of voices that most indicates the increasing confluence of cultures involved in making us who we are.” The Best American Short Stories 2013 presents an impressive diversity of writers who dexterously lead us into their corners of the world.

In “Miss Lora,” Junot Díaz masterfully puts us in the mind of a teenage boy who throws aside his better sense and pursues an intimate affair with a high school teacher. Sheila Kohler tackles innocence and abuse as a child wanders away from her mother, in thrall to a stranger she believes is the “Magic Man.” Kirstin Valdez Quade’s “Nemecia” depicts the after-effects of a secret, violent family trauma. Joan Wickersham’s “The Tunnel” is a tragic love story about a mother’s declining health and her daughter’s helplessness as she struggles to balance her responsibility to her mother and her own desires. New author Callan Wink’s “Breatharians” unsettles the reader as a farm boy shoulders a grim chore in the wake of his parents’ estrangement.
“Elizabeth Strout was a wonderful reader, an author who knows well that the sound of one’s writing is just as important as and indivisible from the content,” writes series editor Heidi Pitlor. “Here are twenty compellingly told, powerfully felt stories about urgent matters with profound consequences.”



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Descriptions du produit

Revue de presse

BASS 2012:
"A typically strong selection … that should please readers who love the traditional pleasures of storytelling, through voices that are thoroughly contemporary." – Kirkus
 
BASS 2011:
"Children and their parents feature prominently, if predictably, in this year's collection, which includes stories by three Pulitzer Prize-winners. Some of the stronger pieces--such as Sam Lipsyte's "The Dungeon Master," about an endearing young cast of misfit fantasy-game players, and Ricardo Nuila's "Dog Bites," in which a pedantic but loving father helps his son navigate the perils of Little League and life without Mom--tackle the difficulties of adolescence with fresh humor and vigor...Though many of the names here are familiar, this powerful new work re-establishes these authors' command of the form."--Publisher's Weekly
 
"Another stellar selection from an anthology that has sustained high standards for 35 years..Each one of these stories could establish itself as some reader’s favorite."
--Kirkus, STARRED
 
BASS past praise:
"Russo has compiled a collection of consistently entertaining fiction that engages itself with this world (rather than conjuring its own world or reducing the world of fiction to words)... with even the few of the newsstand magazines that publish fiction publishing less of it, the stories themselves seem as vital as ever. Any reader will likely discover a new favorite writer here, or more." --Booklist, STARRED

"...the anthology's chorus of 20 stories...are by turns playful, ironic, somber and meditative...the authors generally are writers with proven track records...The anthology feels rooted in the real world...[and is], more uniformly satisfying than some "Best" outings have been..." --The Wall Street Journal
 
"The stories are a sort of antenna for what is going on in the world...Even topical stories are of enduring quality, and the same is true for several other stories that wrestle with contemporary religion and faith." --Chicago Tribune

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Amazon.com: 3.9 étoiles sur 5  47 commentaires
39 internautes sur 42 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Another good entry into the series 7 octobre 2013
Par Jessica in NE - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché|Commentaire client Vine pour produit gratuit (De quoi s'agit-il?)
The "Best American Short Stories" series is in its 35th year. As usual, the stories come from well-known writers and tell (usually) exquisite story vignettes in less than 20 pages. It seems that many of the writers have participated in recent editions of "The Best..." While the time periods range from the late 1800s (Jim Shepard) through some unspecified dystopian future (George Saunders'), the historical period does not burden the character development. Even those stories I didn't like for one reason or another were worth reading. I found six stories that I liked (denoted by a (*)), and only three or four stories that completely disinterested me, so I'd still rate this book as "worth buying."

It's difficult to explain pros and cons for this series, and it's incredibly hard to boil these stories into something even shorter, so here's a very vague idea of who and what this series entry contains (without spoilers).

1. Daniel Alarcon, The Provincials. Son arrives in father's hometown.
2. Charles Baxter, Bravery. Wife and husband's disaffected relationship.
3. Michael Byers, Malaria. Mental illness.
4. Junot Diaz, Miss Lora. Ethnic-and-sexual maturation.
5. Karl Taro Greenfeld, Horned Men*. Introspection during loss and rebuilding.
6. Gish Jen, The Third Dumpster. Ethnic second-generation immigration.
7. Bret Anthony Johnston, Encounters with Unexpected Animals*. Man's effort to protect his son.
8. Sheila Kohler, Magic Men. Dashed childhood innocence.
9. David Means, The Chair. Fatherhood.
10. Steven Milhauser, A Voice in the Night. A boy named Samuel, influenced by his religious counterpart.
11. Lorrie Moore, Referential. Mental illness.
12. Alice Munro*, Train. Successive relationships on an introverted man.
13. Antonya Nelson, Chapter Two. Kooky neighbor's influence.
14. Kirstin Valdez Quade*, Nemecia. Youthful enmity.
15. Suzanne Rivecca, Philanthropy. Drug use without redemption.
16. George Saunders, The Semplica Girl Diaries. Materialism in some future dystopia.
17. Jim Shepard*, The World to Come. Illicit love set against pioneer poverty.
18. Elizabeth Tallent, The Wilderness. Existential confusion of an academic.
19. Joan Wickersham, The Tunnel, or The News From Spain. A woman's failing mid-life relationships.
20. Callan Wink*, Breatharians. Growing up leading two lives in a rural setting.

Happy reading.
24 internautes sur 31 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
2.0 étoiles sur 5 Not a good year 31 octobre 2013
Par K. Bunker - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
Since these "BASS" anthologies have a different guest editor each year, it's inevitable that, for any given reader, some years will be better than others. And I'm afraid the 2013 edition was distinctly an "off" year for me. Last year I enjoyed almost every story in the book; this year I found most of them to be a failure in one sense or another.

Some notes on selected stories, covering all of the good ones and some of the failures:

"Miss Lora" by Junot Diaz is a story that I'd read before and didn't much like. I found its stylistic gimmickry pretentious and annoying: Diaz frequently switches to Spanish for words, phrases, and sentences, uses a second person narrative, and doesn't put quotation marks around dialog. But I read the story again, and this time I loved it. In a quietly minimalist way it brings its title character and her relationship with the protagonist to vivid life, making for a moving story. Personally I think it would have worked better without the stylistic gimmicks, but it's good in spite of them.

"Encounters With Unexpected Animals" by Brett Anthony Johnston has a nice title, but goes downhill from there, focussing on a 17-year-old girl who talks and acts like no 17-year-old ever has in the history of the human race.

"Magic Man" by Sheila Kohler creates its only interest or tension by putting a young girl at peril from a child molester. This works, as far as building tension. Catching fish by dynamiting a pond also works, but few would make the mistake of calling it art.

"The Chair" by David Means is a sort of stream-of-consciousness ramble about being a stay at home dad. Stream-of-consciousness stories inevitably run the risk of feeling like a stream of pointless blather, and to my eye this story runs aground on that risk.

Lorrie Moore's "Referential" is the brilliant, diamond-like highlight of the book. Its scant few pages are so full of life and pain and honesty that it will (or ought to) leave you stunned and exhausted. Moore has a new collection coming out soon, and I for one, Can. Not. Wait.

"Train" is typical of Alice Munro's work: It's neatly crafted, but bloodlessly dry and lifeless, with lifeless characters drifting lifelessly through their lifeless lives. At one point the narrative rhetorically asks about two characters, "What was the matter with them? Were they falling in love?" Not frigging likely, I answered back. Not in an Alice Munro story.

"Philanthropy" by Suzanne Rivecca is a story to be admired, if not "enjoyed." It goes somewhat over the top in the relentlessness of its squaller and misery (the kitty-cancer was almost laughably gratuitous), but there's more going on here than squalor and misery for their own sake.

... Which is something I wouldn't say about George Saunders' "The Semplica-Girl Diaries". This story appeared in his best-selling collection Tenth of December, and is typical Saunders fare; I suppose some will find it darkly humorous, but personally I find little humor in inventing absurdly contrived situations for the sole purpose of inflicting pain on drab and stupid characters.

"The World to Come" by Jim Shepard contains about three pages worth of a sweet and tender love story. Unfortunately that story is buried in 29 pages of interminably tedious pseudo-diary writing about life on a nineteenth-century New England farm. I've read and enjoyed many of Shepard's stories in the past, but I found this one painfully boring.

Joan Wickersham's "The Tunnel, or The News From Spain" provides a welcome uptick near the end of the book. A portrait of a woman's relationship with her disabled and sickly mother may sound both dreary and trite, but this story is neither. It's full of life and wit and intelligence, and was a pleasure to read.

And one final, negative note about this anthology: in an annoying and amateurish flaw to the eBook edition, the table of contents lists only the stories' titles, without the authors' names.
7 internautes sur 9 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Seven Spectacular Stories 7 novembre 2013
Par Cameron Yow - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
Is a short story engaging? Is it memorable? Will I recall it long after I have set it aside? Of the twenty stories selected by Elizabeth Strout for this year's anthology of "The Best American Short Stories 2013," I found seven which meet my own criteria, each in a unique, spectacular way. While I found two stories falling short of their author's previous work and two others almost meandering, finding thirty-five percent of the stories selected for this anthology to be so remarkable requires my most enthusiastic recommendation.

Reviewing and editing entails high subjectivity. I have no doubt a number of stories which should have been considered among the best of 2013 lie unpublished. Nonetheless, the best of the stories in this anthology should inspire those who aspire to write to write even better, to submit and resubmit until their talent can no longer be denied.
4 internautes sur 5 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 The Year's Best Alice Munro 3 novembre 2013
Par Kevin L. Nenstiel - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché|Commentaire client Vine pour produit gratuit (De quoi s'agit-il?)
Every year, after I finish reading The Best American Short Stories annual edition, somebody inevitably asks: "Was it any good?" As though that's a yes-or-no question. I usually respond with: "Depends. What're you looking for?" Every year seems dominated by some theme, some insight that doesn't reveal itself initially, but only after scrutinizing multiple stories. This year, your response will depend on how much you like Alice Munro.

Munro became the first Canadian Nobel Laureate in Literature two days after this collection shipped. Pretty good for an author who only writes short stories, in a market where short fiction venues haven't weathered the digital revolution well. If short fiction has any future in today's marketplace, it'll come from authors absorbing Munro's influence. American literature once needed a thousand Mark Twains; today it needs ten-thousand Alice Munros.

Well, this collection offers twenty, including Munro herself. Ironically, Munro's contribution to this year's collection, "Train," is perhaps the most conventional story I've read from her. It has her accustomed generational sweep, and eschews climactic peaks, preferring gradual revelatory patterns. Yet she retains a sequential narrative and keeps focus on one defining character. It's surprisingly linear from today's most quintessentially non-linear narrative artist.

Though this year's other featured authors don't merely mimic Munro, her influence pervades this collection. Like Munro, most of these authors favor introspective narratives that resemble one character's personal memoirs, rather than action- or dialog-driven external events. Two stories even utilize the diary format. And most authors eschew Freytag's Pyramid, the movement from exposition to climax to denouement, which one of my writing mentors called the "Male Orgasmic Story Model."

Instead, Munro and her votaries favor an arc of realization, as characters gradually uncover some concealed truth about who they are. Rather than one glaring moment when truth becomes unavoidable, these stories preponderantly prefer the friction that, with time, produces a pearl. Narrative becomes the process of discovery, not the history of moments. As Lorrie Moore puts it herein, "Mutilation was a language. And vice versa."

Different authors use this arc to different purposes. Karl Taro Greenfeld, in "Horned Man," gradually builds a Poe-ish tension that, in its final moments, never gets resolved, leaving savory dread in readers' brains. Kirsten Valdez Quade's "Nemecia" unpacks the influence two cousins exercised on each other, growing up Spanish in the English-speaking southwest. These stories showcase a dark side to what we might call Munrovian fiction.

Authors like Daniel Alarcón and Suzanne Rivecca display another face. Nobody would mistake any story herein for Pollyannaism, and only fools would seek happy endings between these covers; yet these authors refute hip nihilism. Rivecca's "Philanthropy" describes the healing a social worker begins when she stops playing socially acceptable roles. Alarcón's "The Provincials," though, shows a young actor beginning maturity when he chooses what adult role he wants to play.

Not every author handles Munrovian influence equally well. George Saunders, in "The Semplica Girls Diary," starts an interesting story rolling, poses timely questions... then just stops. I'm reminded of that advice so often given undergraduates: "This story ends where it should be beginning." David Means' "The Chair" features a protagonist who receives a spectacular narrative opportunity, but, largely finishes where he began, resisting any opportunity for Munro's powerful revelatory arc.

Notwithstanding such momentary hiccups, this year's eminently readable collection collects prime examples, from today's prestigious names and looming stars. All "best of" collections have subjective views, reflecting the anthologizer as much as the market. But in today's turbulent magazine market, this collection demonstrates two important, almost inarguable facts: first, short fiction retains its place in cultural discourse. Second, we have seen the future, and it looks like Alice Munro.
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Not a good year 18 décembre 2013
Par K. Adler - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
I read the anthology of short stories every year, but was a bit disappointed by this year’s selections. Usually there are at least 3 or 4 stories that are very moving and stick with me, but I didn’t really enjoy any of the stories this year. Many of them were overly disturbing.

I feel like they editors tried to stick with a theme. Most of the stories are about children either losing innocence or becoming disappointed in their parents or an authority figure. Some of the stories felt overdone and just overly tragic. It wasn’t as fun to read as it had been in previous years.
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