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Best New American Voices 2001 Paperback – November 2, 2001

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Of the making of short story anthologies there is no end. Started in 2000, the Best New American Voices distinguishes itself from the Pushcart and O. Henry prizes by soliciting unpublished work from graduate writing programs and arts organizations. This year, guest editor Baxter has selected 17 stories, each testifying to his taste for clarity and eclectic settings. Christina Milletti's "Villa of the Veiled Lady" is in the Jamesian tradition, with the protagonist, Alice, who visits off-limits sites in Herculaneum with a strange Italian man, recognizably in the line of Daisy Miller. Kira Salak tells a different kind of travel story in "Beheadings," which recounts a journalist's visit to Cambodia. David, a psychologically troubled young man, has fled to a Buddhist monastery in that apparently godforsaken country. Chris, the journalist and David's sister, makes it her mission to bring her brother home before her mother dies. Antoine Wilson's "Home, James, and Don't Spare the Horses" is a funny putdown of the art scene. Graham Witt, the narrator, becomes a bad boy artist quite by accident when he exhibits his photographs at Russ Matsumura's gallery. The electricity is turned off on the day of the exhibit, because Russ, on principle, doesn't pay bills, and Graham's artistic cred is established. When he goes to a party thrown by Maurine Perrin, an ineffably weird collector, Maurice encourages him to act like a boor, making his reputation soar even higher. Erin Flanagan's "Intervention," in which Kate comes home with her lover, Harry, to help Harry's mother, Judith, confront Harry's father about his drinking, strikes a bittersweet comic note. These stories give us a snapshot of an America (or at least its writing programs) that has become more globally conscious.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

The stories in this second annual selection come from writers' workshops and graduate writing programs across the country. Guest editor Baxter points out that he was struck by the stories' frequent clash of cultures (in every sense, including ethnic, sexual, and social class) and how topics such as globalization and homosexuality were taken for granted by these emerging writers. Thus, both Zoey Byrd's "Of Cabbages" and Roompa Bhattacharyya's "Loss" are about young widows confronting an unfamiliar culture, though in very different ways, and Kira Salak's "Beheadings" tells of a dangerous journey into Cambodia that evolves into a quest for resolution and inner peace. Though some stories fall victim to the immature writer's sins of overwriting or sensationalism, most are compelling, and many of these authors are likely to become familiar names. For larger fiction collections. Christine DeZelar-Tiedman, Univ. of Minnesota Libs., Minneapolis
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Series: Best New American Voices
  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Mariner Books; 1St Edition edition (November 2, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0156010658
  • ISBN-13: 978-0156010658
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.3 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.9 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,164,160 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I read the 2000 Best New American Voices and was a bit disappointed. A friend highly recommended the 2001 BNAV, however, and I'm so glad she did. Like the first reviewer I was also very impressed with Roompa Bhattacharyya's "Loss"... after I was finished reading the entire anthology, I found myself turning back to "Loss" and re-reading it. She has a lovely writing style that is fluid and rhythmic within a moving, well-controlled narrative. It's a balance I wish I could achieve in my own attempts at fiction! Other excellent stories include Kira Salak's "Beheadings" and Julie Orringer's "Pilgrims", both of which were well-paced and absorbing. I also liked "Before Las Blancas", "Bats","The Mean", and "Home, James, and Don't Spare the Horses". The rest range from pretty good to all right, so for an anthology of new writers this one is overall tops. I'm sure we'll hear much more from these writers in coming years.
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By A Customer on December 14, 2001
Format: Paperback
As with all anthologies, you have to take the good stories with the bad. But in this year's Best New American Voices, I was glad to see that--for the most part--these new writers were more than holding their own. Charles Baxter did a wonderful job of judging this volume--no surprise there. The two highlights for me were Christina Milletti's "Villa of the Veiled Lady" and Roopa Bhattacharyya's "Loss." These two writers have a sure sense of rhythm and an appreciation of long sentences. Other stories that caught my eye were Jeb Livingood's "Oh, Albany, My Love," Kira Salak's "Beheadings" and Whitney Davis' "The Sharp Light of Trespassers" which opens boldly with a discourse on rivers. Hopefully, we'll soon see some of these writers with books of their own.
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