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The Scribner Anthology of Contemporary Short Fiction: Fifty North American American Stories Since 1970 Paperback – December 6, 1999


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 672 pages
  • Publisher: Touchstone; 1ST edition (December 6, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684857960
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684857961
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 1.3 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #187,780 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Kirkus Reviews

It's debatable whether the fact that there are now almost 800 college English departments offering ``fiction-writing majors and minors,'' a fact noted by the editors of this hefty anthology, is cause for hope or alarm. It is at any rate certain that, as the editors go on to observe, the teachers laboring in these departments have become important arbiters, for their students and thus eventually for the wider society, of what modern fiction is and should be. The selections here are of interest because they represent the taste of these teachers; some 50 of them responded to a questionnaire sent out by Williford and Martone, who hoped to identify the stories by American writers published since 1970 to which those queried returned most often as ``readers, writers, and teachers.'' The choices that Williford and Martone (both writers and professors themselves) eventually made, perhaps unsurprisingly, tend to be weighted toward younger talent: there's far more fiction from the 1980s and 90s than the 70s here. The choices, again unsurprisingly, tend to reflect the emergence of a wider variety of voices (Sherman Alexie, Junot Diaz, Sandra Cisneros), and preoccupations than were evident in the 1970s. That said, the 50 stories assembled here (by Margaret Atwood, Donald Barthelme, Ethan Canin, Louise Erdrich, Amy Hempel, Jamaica Kincaid, Rick Bass, Tim O'Brien, Annie Proulx, Melanie Rae Thon, and John Edgar Wideman, among others) certainly do offer a fair survey of styles and interests at the end of the century. While the volume is likely (as, one assumes, it was intended) to quickly find its way onto the reading lists in many of those 800 courses, it also provides a useful overview of our tastes in short fiction at the moment, as well as further evidence of the extent to which American writers are still producing fine and original work in this form. -- Copyright ©1999, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Lex Williford has taught in the writing programs at Southern Illinois University and the University of Alabama. His collection of stories, Macauley's Thumb, was co-winner of the 1993 Iowa Short Fiction Award.

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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See all 15 customer reviews
A pleasure to read and a recommended one.
Toren
This is a wonderful selection of contemporary short fiction featuring a variety of authors and points of view and a great diversity of subject matter.
F. Mercer
This volume is much better than ones that try to pick the best story (or stories) of the year and more enlightening than single author collections.
Tony Jacobs

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Tony Jacobs on October 25, 2001
Format: Paperback
I didn't want this book to end; the stories were so enjoyable. Some were so intense I had to reread them immediately. I would love to take a writing course to try emulating them or using them as inspiration. One complaint: like many of these anthologies the editors don't give a hint of what to expect. Stories are ordered alphabetically by author's last name, but curiously each leads to the next. This volume is much better than ones that try to pick the best story (or stories) of the year and more enlightening than single author collections.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Michael Coffin on March 5, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was introduced to this anthology in a writing course. While compulsory reading is seldom as enjoyable as elective reading, I found myself returning to this collection of short stories long after the course ended. Stuart Dybek's "Pet Milk", a warm and rich introspection on the transition from childhood to adulthood, got me hooked and I soon read every story in this collection. Anyone who enjoys good writing but struggles to find time to read, or who appreciates finely crafted short fiction will enjoy these short but interesting stories. Highly recommended.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By F. Mercer on September 20, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a wonderful selection of contemporary short fiction featuring a variety of authors and points of view and a great diversity of subject matter. Stories deal with such varied topics as homosexuality, the Holocaust, Native American mysticism and small time crooks. Women writers are well represented. This collection features some very different choices, including a ghost story from Joyce Carol Oates.
This collection will prove an invaluable resource for budding writers and literature majors alike. This would also be a great primer for someone unfamiliar with the most contemporary short fiction.
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28 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Jan Dierckx on April 13, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It's difficult to review a book with fifthy authors and their short stories. But I can tell you this: I read a lot of anthologies and usualy only a few stories are really good. In this Scribner Anthology however every single story is outstanding and to me that's extraordinary. Let me give you the list of the authors and their stories:

Alexie, Sherman:

This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona.

Atwood, Margaret: Death by Landscape

Bambara, Toni Cade: Raymond's Run.

Banks, Russell: Sarah Cole:A Type of Love Story.

Barth, John: Click.

Barthelme, Donald: The School

Bass, Rick: Wild Horses

Bausch, Richard: The Man Who Knew Belle Starr.

Baxter, Charles: Gryphon.

Bell, Madison Smartt: Customs of the Country.

Bloom, Amy: Silver Water.

Braverman, Kate: Tall Tales from the Mekong Delta

Butler, Robert Olen: A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain

Canin, Ethan: The Year of Getting to Know Us.

Carver, Raymond: Errand.

Cisneros, Sandra: Woman Hollering Creek

Cunningham, Michael: White Angel.

Diaz, Junot: Fiesta 1980.

Dybek, Stuart: Pet Milk.

Earley,Tony: The Prophet from Jupiter

Erdrich, Louise: Saint Marie.

Ford, Richard: Rock Springs.

Gates, David: The Mail Lady.

Gautreaux, Tim: Same Place, Same Things.

Hansen, Ron: Nebraska.

Hempel, Amy: In the Cemetery Where Al Jolson Is Buried.

Johnson, Denis: Emergency.

Jones, Edward P.: Marie.

Jones, Thom: Cold Snap

Kaplan, David Michael: Doe Season.

Kauffman, Janet: Patriotic.

Kincaid, Jamaica: Girl.
Read more ›
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 14, 1999
Format: Paperback
This is a nearly perfect and much welcome anthology. It is good to see such long neglected writers such as Denis Johnson, Lorrie Moore, Mark Richard and David Gates recognized, however, one could have hoped some of the more commercial writers such as Ethan Canin and Amy Bloom could have been left out in favor of George Saunders and Deborah Eisenberg. Despite a few stumbles, this is surely the best collection of contemporary fiction you're likely to find anywhere.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 12, 2000
Format: Paperback
I buy a lot of short story collections, single author and anthology collections, looking for quality. Finding those rare jewels was hard but seemed worth the trouble, until now. You don't have to search so diligently any more. Every story in this anthology is Quality. I had to read them one at a time so as to savor each one. Not all are new 'favorites' of mine, but I can't deny each story is worth 5 stars. And many of these stories now are favorites of mine. I am now waiting for a new similar collection to be gathered together and published. Nobody else, apparently, is as qualified as these college professors at picking short stories. Please do it again.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Claire B. Zulkey on November 22, 2005
Format: Paperback
I was asked to read this book for a course on teaching creative writing. This is the book for teachers who believe students can learn to write quality literature by reading quality literature. Moreover, for teachers who read closely, each story can teach a lesson. Once these techniques have been discussed and discovered, students/writers can try them for themselves. The students are "learning to dissect without murdering."

Even if you're not teaching, though, this is an amazing collection of stories. And it's a bargain!
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