In her introduction to The Best American Short Stories 2011, Geraldine Brooks draws the comparison between a well-told joke and a good short story. She writes, “Each form relies on suggestion and economy. Characters have to be drawn in a few deft strokes. There’s generally a setup, a reveal, a reversal, and a release . . . In the joke and in the short story, the beginning and end are precisely anchored tent poles, and what lies between must pull so taut it twangs.”
The twenty tightly crafted stories collected here are full of deftly drawn characters, universal truths, and often, like good jokes, surprising humor. Richard Powers’s “To the Measures Fall” is a comic meditation on the uses of literature in the course of a life. In the satirical “The Sleep,” Caitlin Horrocks puts her fictional prairie town to bed—the inhabitants hibernate through the long winter as a form of escape—while in Steve Millhauser’s imagined town the citizens are visited by ghostlike apparitions in “The Phantoms.” Allegra Goodman’s spare but beautiful “La Vita Nuova” finds a jilted fiancée letting her art class paint all over her wedding dress as a poignant act of release. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie wryly captures the social change in the air in Lagos, Nigeria, in her story of a wealthy young man who is not entirely at ease with what his life has become.
As Brooks pursued these richly imagined and varied landscapes she found that “it was like walking into the best kind of party, where you can hole up in a corner with old friends for a while, then launch out among interesting strangers.”
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
We went through the entire book of stories. My favorite was "The Sleep". Look it up! This would not have beena good book to just read alone, but our short story class loves... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Patricia
Some of the stories were very good. Some were very weird. One was so boring it couldn't hold my concentration. Not the best compilation in my opinion.Published 5 months ago by S. R. Love
I somehow have fallen three years behind when it comes to the BASS series. I found more stories on the engaging side for the 2011 editing than not. Read morePublished 7 months ago by JeriWB
These collections are wonderful. Get a glimpse of the best and the brightest and when you are done look for more that these great writers have written.Published 8 months ago by Soozie
I love how even a bad story is OK because it is so short. Some of them are amazing I recommend this bookPublished 8 months ago by runnerjulio
This collection contained some of the best short stories I've read in recent years. I actually left a copy on the bus in Argentina and bought another copy to finish it and to have... Read morePublished 8 months ago by michael c. wasserman
Most of the stories try too hard for style. Then again we are trying to find an iconic voice for this generation.Published 11 months ago by Eliot
This collection from 2011 was not one of the most effective of the Best series, and it was disappointing in many ways. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Garrett Zecker
I'm using this collection for a community college course---composition and introduction to literature. Read morePublished 14 months ago by E. Costello