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Guest editor and acclaimed author Tom Perrotta (The Leftovers, 2011) has selected winning and wildly entertaining stories for this annual anthology series. Raymond Carver and David Foster Wallace are the totems of Perrotta’s literary aesthetic. Embracing both, he remarkably moves past the now-tired debate of minimalism versus maximalism, and unsurprisingly (and correctly) arrives at Alice Munro as the “acknowledged master” of the form. Munro’s superb “Axis” is a sparkling example of Perrotta’s platonic ideal of combining “amplitude and compression” in a “handful of tightly focused scenes.” The best stories here succeed in doing so, notably Nathan Englander’s “What We Talk about When We Talk about Anne Frank.” A seductive and bemused peek into the backrooms of American Jewish anxiety (marital and otherwise), this gem deserves all the praise it is receiving. Among the many winners in the collection, Eric Puchner’s chilling and humane sci-fi tale “Beautiful Monsters” and newcomer Roxanne Gay’s “North Country,” a humorous, sexy, and melancholy take on the pain and absurdity of loss and isolation, stand out. Both shine as examples of Perrotta’s preference for “plain, artful language about ordinary people.” The Contributors’ Notes provide intimate first-person insights into the backgrounds and thoughts of the authors, enhancing the reading experience. --Jonathan Schwartz
This book was SO boring. I couldn't get through a single story. Very disappointed. Not for college students.Published 7 months ago by Mariam
There are many fine stories here that deserve several readings to get all of the "goodie"! Fine literature AND enjoyable!Published 9 months ago by frequent reader
An interesting collection of diverse stories by a variety of authors. This is the fourth year that our book group has chosen "The "Best American Short Stories," and... Read morePublished 10 months ago by flip wingrove
There were some pretty awesome stories in The Best American Short Stories 2012. I just wish they were all as good. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Billie Pritchett
Not much to say as my reading of this series tends to follow the same trajectory more often than not. I enjoyed a few and many were not my cup of tea. Read morePublished 11 months ago by JeriWB
Enjoyed reading all the short stories. I have seen or heard the Author before. East Read for the summer and take to the Beach.Published 15 months ago by Mimi
In contrast to the 2013 edition that followed it, The Best American Short Stories 2012 was far, far superior. Read morePublished 15 months ago by garythegrim
If you love short stories, this annual collection is a must-read! This collection has great old-fashioned stories, more modern ones, and a few that really push the envelope for the... Read morePublished 15 months ago by M