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The O. Henry Prize Stories 2003 (Pen / O. Henry Prize Stories) Paperback – September 9, 2003
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
Top Customer Reviews
Each anthology attempts to identify the best 20 short stories of the year, but together they prove just how subjective this quest ends up being. This year, 2003, there is only one story that appears in both volumes, Anthony Doerr's "The Shell Collector". Thus, the views and biases of the editors end up determining the final selection - and in fact, this is one of the selling points of the Best American series, which features a different guest editor (a well-known author) each year. The O. Henry volume can rightfully claim to have a more consistent selection process, which produces more uniformity year to year.
2003 is the first year that Laura Furman (an author and professor at the UT at Austin - where does she find the time to read all these stories?) is editing the O. Henry series. What are her biases? She is kind enough to state them: she favors stories whose emotional impact is "revealed ... by stress or loss, the twin capitals of the short story's dominion. The peace of daily life, even the dullness of it, is what is decimated in the short story and replaced by the nightmares or sometimes the consolation of understanding another's existence or our own." With this as a prelude, don't expect any light-hearted love stories or comedies of manners.Read more ›
Among my favourites were "The Shell Collector" by Anthony Doerr, for its intreguing characters and dynamic plot, and "God's Goodness" by Marjorie Kemper, for its realistic simplicity.
This is the type of book that makes a great gift, and is definitely one to share around with your friends and family. (Mostly so you can have someone to discuse the stories with, and why would you want to deny anyone a good story?)
Readers will find themselves returning to reread some stories and shrugging off others as "merely" good. All in all, this is an excellent sampling of some of the best short fiction being published today.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I bought this collection for the Dennis Johnson story, but have enjoyed them all. The O. Henry Stories are always good.Published on February 28, 2013 by Jeda
I usually run screaming from the room when confronted with the dreaded and often kill-joy title of "short story," but there are a few exceptions. Read morePublished on November 5, 2004 by Mark V. Chattham