From Publishers Weekly
"Best" is a subjective judgment, but there's no question that for each of the past 15 years Datlow and Windling have assembled an excellent anthology of richly rewarding imaginative literature. Their harvest of horror and fantasy for 2001 is a bumper crop of 49 stories and poems, many from sources that won't be familiar to the average reader and some from newcomers whose promise bodes well for the future of both genres. As in years past, certain themes cut across genre boundaries and explode notions of horror and fantasy as separate literary forms. Shapeshifters are present in Charles de Lint's upbeat "Trading Hearts at the Half Kaffe Cafe," where they teach a lesson about trust in a romantic relationship, and in Susan Palwick's haunting "Gestella," where they crystallize the sense of estrangement in a deteriorating marriage. Ursula K. LeGuin's "The Bones of the Earth," written in the classic high-fantasy style, and S.P. Somtow's "The Bird Catcher," which features a legendary serial killer, are both moving coming-of-age parables. Intimations of realities beyond comprehension dominate Anthony Doerr's "The Hunter's Wife," a transcendent meditation on the consolations of mortality, and Caitl!n Kiernan's "Onion," which brilliantly suggests a universe of chaotic cosmic horrors through the dysfunctional lives of people who have seen but not understood them. Enhancing the mix are top-flight tales by Steve Rasnic Tem, Kelly Link, Elizabeth Hand and Gregory Maguire, and Michael Chabon's "The Dark God of Laughter," a metaphysical mystery that ranks as one of the year's most refreshingly uncategorizable stories. Without question, this book is mandatory reading for lovers of weird and fanciful fiction.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Hemon follows his galvanizing debut, The Question of Bruno
(2000), a set of interlocking stories, with his first novel, which continues the story of the phoenixlike Jozef Pronek. As suggested by its evocative title, this episodic tale combines a tender musicality and somewhat sardonic affection for humanity with piercing insights into the sorrows of displacement and alienation. Hemon, himself an inadvertent Bosnian refugee, conjures his lost city of Sarajevo in vivid depictions of Jozef's Sarajevan youth, during which he copes with the longings and bewilderment of adolescence by forming a Beatles cover band. Jozef's passion for music brings him to the U.S. just as war breaks out in Yugoslavia, and he finds himself marooned in Chicago. As he has his stubborn hero struggle to find common ground with his father at home, then with oblivious Americans as he takes odds jobs, including canvasing for Greenpeace in Chicago's insular suburbs, where his accent attracts more interest than environmental concerns, Hemon, who possesses a diabolical sense of humor and a wickedly visceral sensibility, and who handles English as though it were nitroglycerine, considers the precariousness of existence, the continual revision of identity and dreams that immigrant life demands, and the ever-present shadow of death. Kristine HuntleyCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved