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Started in 2000, the Best New American Voices distinguishes itself from the Pushcart and O. Henry prizes by soliciting unpublished work from graduate writing programs and arts organizations.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.