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American Short Story Masterpieces Mass Market Paperback – April 2, 1989


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Dell; Reissue edition (April 2, 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0440204232
  • ISBN-13: 978-0440204237
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.2 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #38,123 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In the introduction to this collection, Carver mentions an earlier volume, Short Story Masterpieces published in 1954. The 36 tales here, he says, are distinguished by a similar narrative durability and stand up to the classic stories of that earlier generation. No argument. These unexperimental stories are substantial, solid and, to a paragraph, satisfying. By American writers exclusively (the earlier collection was one-third English and Irish), the offerings are arranged alphabetically by author, from James Baldwin's "Sonny's Blues" to "The Liar" by Tobias Wolff. Between is an assortment of modern classics: Doctorow's powerful and lyric story of betrayal, "Willi," Flannery O'Connor's chilling "A Good Man Is Hard to Find," Roth's "The Conversion of the Jews" and Arthur Miller's near-perfect "The Misfits." Other pleasures lie in the wisdom and dignity that mark "Talk of Heroes" by Carol Bly, in the characteristic energy of Elkins's "A Poetics for Bullies," in the spare surprise of David Quammen's "Walking Out" and in the views of modern mall life from Bobbie Ann Mason, Joyce Carol Oates and Jayne Anne Phillips. There are also tales from Helprin, Brautigan, Bourjaily, Carver, Salter, Paley and others. Missing are authors, such as Cheever and Welty, whose works were included in the 1954 Masterpieces, as well as those writing outside the narrative tradition. While this is not a comprehensive collection, its selections are indeed masterpiecestestament to the hearty good health of the traditional modern short story and proof of the genre's continuing rewards.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

YA There's something for everyone in this collection of 36 of the best of American short stories written from the 1950s through 1986. Students of the short story, as well as more casual readers, will find a rich mixture of realistic tales in this well-balanced anthology. This book deserves a place next to Short Story Masterpieces (Dell, 1954; o.p.), edited by Robert Penn Warren and Albert Erskine.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

It has remarkable stories by a wide selection of American writers.
R. J. Marsella
This is the best collection of short stories i've ever read , you simply cannot find a bad story here.
Stevie Dal
Out of curiosity, I've researched each author after reading their story.
Mark Nassutti

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

78 of 78 people found the following review helpful By D. Lee on May 10, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Perhaps I am biased by nostalgia since this was the text used way back in my high school creative writing class, but this sublime anthology is pound for pound the best collection of short fiction around. There are other excellent collections -- Scribner's Anthology of Contemporary Short Fiction comes to mind -- but ASS masterpieces (as we called it back then) has a splendid mix of short story classics in addition to an absurd number of gems. On the all-time classic side, there is "Sonny's Blues," "Rock Springs," "Where are you Going, Where Have you Been?", "A Good Man is Hard to Find," "The Conversion of the Jews," and "The Liar" just to name a few. It's already a terrific list; how many other collections have all these under one roof? But then there are a whole host of lesser-known stories that push this sucker over the top. "1/3, 1/3, 1/3," "A Poetics for Bullies," "The Ledge," "The Heavenly Animal" ... all first-rate stories. And it's only $8.00! Forget Best American Short Stories of the Century. Forget the Norton Anthology. If you can only have one fiction anthology on your shelf, this should be the one.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By R. J. Marsella on January 24, 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
There are so many short story collections, many of which contain some of the same selections represented here. What sets this small paperback volume apart is that it is truly portable and can be carried in a jacket pocket when traveling or commuting. It has remarkable stories by a wide selection of American writers. My favorite is Flannery O'Conner's A Good Man Is Hard To FInd but there are many more. This is a risk free purchase if ever there was one. Eight bucks for some of the best samples of short fiction ever written.
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17 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Robert on May 21, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I read "Midair" standing up in the bookstore. This book contains some true classics in short story writing.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By E. Lees on May 18, 2012
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I chose this anthology of short stories by default. I facilitate a literature group, and other anthologies had already been read by most of the members. It's OK and so far has provoked lively discussion. I find the editors' selections a bit perplexing, though. And I would recommend choosing a more recent anthology.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Stevie Dal on April 4, 2013
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is the best collection of short stories i've ever read , you simply cannot find a bad story here. And as most readers will know, that's a very rare thing indeed, most collections have the odd clunker or three. Well, not this little beauty. Gems all the way in a superbly chosen anthology and the greatest value for money you'll come across in this day and age. Buy, and enjoy, with confidence. A classic.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mark Nassutti on January 7, 2014
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm 2/3 through this collection and often find myself riveted. Sometimes I'm forced to hold my breath in near shock as tension explodes through the words on the page. Other times I find myself marveling at a turn of phrase, a lyrical construction or a connection back to a bit of foreshadowing. I've found myself laughing out loud. Out of curiosity, I've researched each author after reading their story. Gaining a better understanding of their backgrounds and careers has enriched the experience tremendously. Getting a feeling for where the story came from makes their stories that much more powerful. I'm studying these works in order to improve my own writing skills, and I'm inspired.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A. Levine on June 17, 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
A couple of duds but far more gems make this anthology worth humting down! The collection includes a broad range of riding, and in doing so provides a comprehensive overview of the modern American short story. Would that it might have been entitled, "Short Story Masterpieces," instead of "American Short Story Masterpieces," the few missing giants of the genre might also have been included. But quibbles aside, this collection is a real treat!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Frances on November 15, 2014
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Anyone who loves to read great literature will love the short stories in this anthology. If you're a writer, this is a great tome to have and refer to. By reading these masters, you'll learn how to develop your craft.
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