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The Best American Short Stories 2008 Paperback – Bargain Price, October 8, 2008

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Paperback, Bargain Price, October 8, 2008
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Product Details

  • Series: Best American Short Stories
  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Mariner Books (October 8, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0618788778
  • ASIN: B001TODO86
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,573,753 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Always a sure bet for gripping, emotionally challenging reading." (San Diego Union-Tribuen ) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Salman Rushdie is a contributor for the following Houghton Mifflin Company Title: The Best American Short Stories 2008

Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Bryan Byrd on October 30, 2008
Format: Paperback
I look forward to this series every year, so it was with high hopes that I opened up this year's editon and began to read. The format is the same as it has been for years, with Ms. Pitlor cherry picking stories and handing over a hundred or so vetted stories to the guest editor. I don't get too caught up in who the guest editor is in any given year - I think Ms. Pitlor does a good job in gathering a pool of quality stories, but this year I thought the overall effort was slightly below the average.

Four of the stories in the collection come from Harper's Magazine, and while I was glad to see the series move away from being so New Yorker oriented, I subscribe to Harper's, so those stories weren't new to me. To of them deserved rereading anyway - the masterful Alice Munro with "Child's Play", and Nicole Krauss, "From the Desk of Daniel Varsky."

Two of the three stories from the New Yorker were also quite well done - "Puppy", by George Saunders, and "Nawabdin Electrician" by Daniyal Mueenuddin. Others that I felt really rose above were "Buying Lenin" by Miroslav Penkov, "Man and Wife," by Katie Chase, and "Straightaway," by Mark Wisniewski.

Four of the stories in this collection would fall under what I would loosely consider 'Fabulist' stories, and those are not really my thing, although I still enjoyed "Man and Wife." Perhaps that is a trend, because I don't remember as much of that in years past.

One of the things I've always enjoyed about this series is that it collects stories I'm sure I'd never get to see otherwise, and that always makes it worth it to me. This year, I would just have to say that not all of it was as interesting to me as other years. I would still definetly recommend it to anyone who enjoys short stories.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Gregory Parkinson on January 28, 2009
Format: Paperback
I've been reading this series on and off since 1992 when a friend gave me a copy of the 1991 edition. Some years I've loved it, some years not, and I think that's part of what's great about the collection - because the editors are different, when your taste aligns with them you're really in for a special treat.

As an example, I don't align with Stephen King at all. Last year's collection was difficult for me to get through. Some good writing but the overall tone was irritating.

Not so for this year. There is something about each story that is exciting. Unexpected but undeniably true events or actions or insights into human nature that to me, truly elevate the stories in this collection to qualify for "the best".

Addressing some of the other reviews -

- "Fabulist" - I'd agree, but I personally like stories that detail realities that are like ours but not quite but really, aren't most people's perceptions of reality different, and doesn't that make a good basis for a story?

- "stylistically trendy" - if stories that don't have exactly the same 1990's-style semi-detached perspective, describing somewhat depressed people making somewhat bad choices and then reacting to the results with some equivalent of "oh. OK." are trendy then alright, this is trendy. Thankfully. Joy, excitement, horror, desperation for redemption, what set these stories apart for me from that style is that the characters have arcs. Think Somerset Maugham. Or just think, because that's what a lot of these characters do.

- "approval of pedophilia" - I guess stupidity follows Mr.Rushdie around like a hungry puppy. If you're looking for all your writing to include moral condemnation then stick to Ann Coulter. There's nothing in this book that promotes pedophilia.

I hope next year's editor chooses as well.
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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful By JohnVidale on November 23, 2008
Format: Paperback
Bought at the airport for a Denver-Seattle trip, I found these stories ranged from fair to excellent, with plenty of very good ones. These tend toward moderately serious, with definite purpose and action, and minimal preaching, and are 20-30 pages apiece.

What else should a short-story review report to avoid any more "not useful" feedback? I like short stories, and have not come across such a good collection in my lackadaisical eclectic sampling for quite a few years. Several, including the ones about the guy on the motorcycle, the swimming girls, and the puppy adoption, remain on my mind still.

The brief biographies and authors' comments about their stories was a welcome addendum.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Bojan Tunguz HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on November 27, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There is probably no more authentically American literary art form than short story, and some of the most memorable short stories that I've read over the years have been by American authors. From Poe, through Hemingway to Tobias Wolff (to name just a few of my favorites through history) American authors had fine-tuned the art of writing short fiction to perfection. For years I had been enjoying "The Best American Short Stories" anthologies, and was eager to read the new volume as soon as it had come in. However, in last few years I had grown increasingly frustrated with the workshop-quality of stories that were presented in these anthologies. Stories were indubitably well-crafted, but lacked much of imagination and excitement that I had come to associate with this genre. A few years back I finally gave up and did not continue buying these anthologies for several years. I gave the series a second chance when The Best American Short Stories 2007 came out. I thought that having Stephen King as the guest editor would be a good sign if not of quality of writing then at least of interesting plotlines. Unfortunately, I was disappointed yet again.

So I am writing this long rambling preamble in order to show that I am a big fan of short stories, and not so big fan of the "Best American" collections of recent years. That's why I was very pleasantly surprised with the 2008 edition. As some other reviewers have commented, it is by far the best collection in years. After reading the first few stories I was completely hooked, but having been burned in the past was apprehensive about each new story that I would read. In the end, it turned out that my apprehension was totally misplaced.
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More About the Author

HEIDI PITLOR is a former senior editor at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Her fiction has been published in Ploughshares, and she is the author of the novel The Birthdays.

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