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PEN/O. Henry Prize Stories 2010 Paperback – April 20, 2010


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PEN/O. Henry Prize Stories 2010 + PEN/O. Henry Prize Stories 2011: The Best Stories of the Year + The PEN/O. Henry Prize Stories 2012: Including stories by John Berger, Wendell Berry, Anthony Doerr, Lauren Groff, Yi
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Product Details

  • Series: Pen / O. Henry Prize Stories
  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Anchor (April 20, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307472361
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307472366
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.5 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #980,756 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“Widely regarded as the nation’s most prestigious awards for short fiction.” —The Atlantic Monthly

About the Author

Laura Furman's work has appeared in The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, Ploughshares, The Yale Review, and other magazines. She is the founding editor of the highly regarded American Short Fiction (three-time finalist for the American Magazine Award). A professor of English at the University of Texas at Austin, she teaches in the graduate James A. Michener Center for writers. She lives in Austin.

Customer Reviews

2.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

This year's Pen/O'Henry Prize Stories 2010 offers an eclectic collection of wonderful writing. The series is edited by Laura Furman and this year's judges are Junot Diaz, Paula Fox and Yiyun Li. The stories range from narratives that describe a richness of blessings to the barrenness of empty lives. Some stories offer exhilaration that turns to bleakness, while in others the turn of events is the reverse. The stories take place around the globe and throughout the United States. What they have in common is that for a short while the reader is immersed in the intimacy of a narrative that takes us into other lives and places.

The collection opens up with a story by one of my favorite writers, Annie Proulx. Entitled 'Them Old Cowboy Songs', this story begins in 1885 in the American west. Archie, aged 16, and Rose, aged 14, are in love and marry. All is bliss at first. Archie inherits a little bit of money from his surrogate mother and purchases some acreage. Archie and Rose both work hard. In time, Rose becomes pregnant and Archie goes off to seek paying work in another state as there are no jobs nearby. In this story, the cataclysmic impact of the elements are at war with the American dream of success. That one is able to survive at all is miraculous.

'The Headstrong Historian' by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, takes us to Nigeria where we meet Ngwambe. She is a woman who believes in the culture of her tribe but is also strong enough to stand up against it if necessary. Ngwambe "is a strong-willed woman hemmed in by custom and circumstance, whose beloved son betrays her in an unimaginable way". This story speaks to the strength of inter-generational love and the power of a strong woman.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By cs211 on December 16, 2010
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Laura Furman has once again assembled a strong collection of short stories as she settles into her role as series editor. I have been reading the O. Henry Prize Stories anthologies for every year starting with 1996, and I continue to look forward to the publication of each new year's volume. Short story anthologies such as the O. Henry series are a wonderful way to get exposed to a wide variety of authors. Occasionally the stories push the short story form into new directions, such as Ted Sanders' story "Obit" and John Edgar Wideman's "Microstories" do in this year's volume. This year's collection has a few absolute masterpieces, a good number of enjoyable, memorable stories, but unfortunately a few duds that dragged down my overall rating slightly.

The stories that I especially liked include:

-- "Them Old Cowboy Songs" by Annie Proulx: you won't soon forget this tale about the eternal battle of man versus nature, as illustrated by the challenges a young couple faces establishing a new home and family in the wilderness.

-- "Oh, Death", by James Lasdun: a near-perfect short story in the classic O. Henry style, complete with an interesting plot twist at the end. Lasdun creates some very compelling characters to illustrate the impact of civilization encroaching on the wilderness and especially the pioneers who live off the land.

-- "Into the Gorge", by Ron Rash: a haunting story about how times have changed and what we all may have lost by ceding too much power to bureaucratic authorities.

The duds included Peter Cameron's "The End of My Life in New York", which I felt was focused on nothing more than ephemera, and Alice Munro's "Some Women". I am looking forward to a future volume of the O.
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2011: Not my most favorite year, sorry to say, because I have found previous ones really stellar. This particular collection is full of rather depressing and uninteresting stories and characters that for me, were hard to relate to.
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By G. Irene Orme on November 19, 2010
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Wonderful short stories, this book was chosen by my book club. We review two stories a week.I found the stories very illuminating,with messages that I would never have considered with out the book club. A very good choice for book clubs
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