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The Ecco Anthology of Contemporary American Short Fiction
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on October 19, 2008
Format: Paperback
I just picked this book up yesterday, and I found 48 stories by 48 different authors to keep me busy for quite some time. As a student of fiction writing, it is great to have a collection of contemporary stories, "of which nearly all were written and published in the twenty-first century." Although there are many stories that could not be collected here, Joyce Carol Oates and Christopher R. Beha selected a great range of short stories. The first lines, alone, of these stories are worth the price of the book. For example, Rick Bass begins "The Hermit's Story," with "An ice storm, following seven days of snow; the vast fields and drifts of snow turning to sheets of glazed ice that shine and shimmer blue in the moonlight, . . ." or Sherman Alexie who begins "The Toughest Indian in the World," with "Being a Spokane Indian, I only pick up Indian hitchhikers." These lines are wonderful, giving the reader just enough to stir up interest. These are character driven stories. These are not stories to be read once and tossed aside. They are stories to return to, to study, to savor. I've finished half of them, but I have no favorites, and there are none that I dislike. Although too big for a back pocket or a handbag, this is a collection that should go with you when you travel, relax, sit by the beach, or when you curl up in your favorite chair.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on November 24, 2010
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
This book was used by our short story discussion group. The stories tended to be challenging. All were well written and thought provoking. Reading them resulted in involved, interesting discussions, although some parties often found the stories too sexually graphic and/or depressing. Probably since the stories were all chosen by the same editor, the group found that their common qualities became somewhat tiring by the time we neared the end of the volume.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on August 13, 2014
Format: Paperback
Quality stories. I enjoy short fiction anthologies because they introduce me to new writers. I use to buy CD samplers to discover new bands for the same reason. This anthology introduced me to Aimee Bender - the story "Off" is easily my favorite and one I've shared with many friends. It's funny, it's sad, it's everything I like about Aimee Bender, despite not having any magical realism. Other highlights for me was "The Identity Club" by Richard Burgin, it's a really strange and original story about a club where people pretend to be more famous people, which is cool enough as a story idea, but the direction it goes was unexpected and thrilling. This anthology also introduced me to Michael Chabon and his amazing sentences with "The Son of the Wolfman," which oddly enough, I've found myself wanting to share with friends who're expecting, because I feel learned so much about pregnancy from the story, even though that's not entirely what the story is about. There's a lot of celebrated authors in here, so this collection is a great way to discover contemporary american voices. I used the Joyce Carol Oates story "Landfill" about a college student's death in a short story book club I recently held where the theme was based around college student experience - it has an abundance of student life themes and is written in a fabulous, unwinding, gradually more and more revealed style that serves the story in the way it connects to how the parents discover more and more about what happened to their son.
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on February 19, 2011
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
This book was selected by the instructor of my short fiction writing class as one of two text books. It is much more entertaining and instructive than text books I have used in other courses.
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on February 20, 2011
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
This book is the text for a Senior Education class, Contemporary Short Fiction. So far, it's a great volume. I anticipate enjoying it far beyond the assigned class reading.
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4 of 45 people found the following review helpful
on January 25, 2009
Format: Paperback
I read several of the stories and was shocked at how much I hated them all!
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