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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "The raison d'etre of the anthology is that they are unknown.", October 10, 2008
This review is from: Best New American Voices 2009 (Paperback)
In recent years, writing workshops have been the genesis of emerging new talent. An unexpected bonus of World War II and the GI Bill, such workshops have become increasingly popular on campuses, a breeding ground for the blooming talent that develops definition through the rigors of workshop discipline. The famed literary talents of earlier years lured young writers to big cities, where new talent drew from the experiences available on those diverse canvasses. But, increasingly, the respected, established writers are found on college and university campuses, where they conduct workshops, teaching writing skills and the basics of the craft, literally a laboratory where fresh voices are nurtured in an encouraging environment. The craft can be taught- but the most valuable ingredient, creativity, comes from the writers themselves, their particular perspectives of the world they inhabit and the words they use to inject life into their stories.

This is the ninth in a series of Best New American Voices, a collection of short fiction by promising young writers whose work is nominated for consideration; direct submissions are not accepted. Rather, there is a careful vetting process, the submissions read, debated and passed on to the guest editor, in this case, Mary Gaitskill. The result is the outstanding fourteen stories in the 2009 edition. In her introduction, Gaitskill sets the tone for her selections: "Great writing uses words in such a way that they evoke images, feelings, associations and ideas." Within the limits of the short story, the chosen writers offer some of their best work: "Yellowstone" by Baird Harper of The School of the Art Institute of Chicago; "The Monkey King" by Sharon May of Stanford University; "Mules" by Erin Brown of the University of Virginia; "Welcome Home" by Theodore Wheeler of the Wesleyan Writers Conference; "The Still Point" by Lydia Peelle, Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown and many more.

The topics are diverse: "In Thunderbird, Illinois, I get to thinking the world is going to end" (Lydia Peelle, "The Still Point); "This was the easy intimacy of his loveless youth that Jim missed" (Theodore Wheeler, "Welcome Home"; "There was something smug and deadened in his voice- and Isabel knew she didn't want to see the man again" (Suzanne Rivecca, "Look Ma, I'm Breathing"; "Here the boys are at the edge of everything they know" (Mehdi Tavana Okasi, "Salvation Army"). The selections are fresh and provocative, filled with the varied perspectives of these writers of short fiction, the limitless landscapes of their fertile imaginations and carefully honed prose. These bright voices are inspiring, words assembled in search of a particular vision, both satisfying and energetic. Luan Gaines/ 2008.
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Initial post: Jun 3, 2014 7:06:40 AM PDT
AC says:
Thank you so much for this highly informative and useful review. I truly appreciate the time taken to convey all that you have.
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Luan Gaines "luansos"
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Location: Dana Point, CA USA

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