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O. Henry Prize Stories 2005 (Pen / O. Henry Prize Stories) Paperback – January 4, 2005

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Laura Furman was born in New York, and educated in New York City public schools and at Bennington College. Her first story appeared in "The New Yorker" in 1976, and since then her work hasbeen publishedin many magazines, including "Yale Review, " "Southwest Review, Ploughshares, American Scholar, " "Preservation, House & Garden, " and other magazines. Her books include three collections of short stories", "two novels, " "and a memoir. She is the recipient of fellowships from the New York State Council on the Arts, the Dobie Paisano Project, the Guggenheim Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts. She has received grants in residency at Yaddo in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., and in 2009 she was a visiting artist at the American Academy in Rome.She taught for many years in the Department of English at the University of Texas at Austin. Series editor of "The PEN/O.Henry Prize Stories "since 2002, Furman selects the twenty winning stories each year. She lives in Central Texas.""

Cristina Garcia is the author of six novels, including the National Book Award finalist "Dreaming in Cuban"; children s books; anthologies; and poetry. She is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and a Whiting Writers Award, among other honors, and is currently University Chair in Creative Writing at Texas State University-San Marcos. Visit her website at CristinaGarciaNovelist.com.

Ann Patchett is the author of six novels and three books of nonfiction. She has won many prizes, including Britain's Orange Prize, the PEN/Faulkner Prize, and the Book Sense Book of the Year. Her work has been translated into more than thirty languages. She lives in Nashville, Tennessee, where she is the co-owner of Parnassus Books.

Review

“Widely regarded as the nation’s most prestigious awards for short fiction.” --The Atlantic Monthly
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Product Details

  • Series: Pen / O. Henry Prize Stories
  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Anchor; 2005 ed. edition (January 4, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400076544
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400076543
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 1.1 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,161,102 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Debbie Lee Wesselmann TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 1, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This year's prize anthology is dedicated to Anton Chekhov, the father of the modern short story. Even though none of these stories can be considered a masterpiece, they are all indebted to Chekhov's legacy of an unflinching look at human psychology. Although some of these stories are found in The Best American Short Stories 2004 ("What You Pawn, I Will Redeem" by Sherman Alexie; "A Rich Man" by Edward P. Jones: "Grace" by Paula Fox; "The Tutor" by Nell Freudenberger), most are different, making this anthology a good companion to the other.

Many of these stories are about divorce and parental abandonment, often from the child's point of view. "Mudlavia" by Elizabeth Stuckey-French tells of a boy with what the doctors think is rheumatoid arthritis. He and his mother travel one summer to a spa where they are introduced to a world outside their own. Meanwhile, the boy's father remains at home and is seen by one of the boy's closest friends (who writes to him) with his beautiful "cousin." "The Tutor" is also about the loss, both psychological and real, of a parent, although the themes and emotions run in much more complicated directions. American Julia is in Bombay, living with her father after her mother moved out and hoping to escape to college. Zubin, an American and British education Indian, tutors her for her SATs, and through their relationship, teaches her other essentials things about life. The protagonist of "The High Divide" by Charles D'Ambrosio is a boy living in an orphanage who is befriended by a "public school kid" and his family. The boy, who has lost his father to mental illness, witnesses his friend's own loss as they hike to the High Divide.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In her second year editing the O. Henry Prize Stories, Laura Furman once again demonstrates a preference for stories of a tragic, dark nature. "Mudlavia", the first story in the book, concerns a boy's broken family and a life-threatening disease. It is followed by stories whose subject matter is apparent from their titles: "The Brief History of the Dead", "The Golden Era of Heartbreak", "The Hurt Man". Other stories in this collection include "Desolation", "Snowbound", and "The Drowned Woman". So, if lighthearted entertaining reading is what you seek, you are advised to look elsewhere. If, however, you want to read well-written short stories of substance, which are actually not as depressing as one might fear, then I definitely recommend the 2005 edition of The O. Henry Prize Stories.

My favorite story in this year's collection is Ben Fountain's "Fantasy for Eleven Fingers", an exceedingly well-crafted story about the tribulations of an unusually endowed pianist caught up in the religious and political hostilities of turn-of-the-20th century Europe. The story reminds us that, try as we might, we cannot completely separate art and beauty from the gritty realities and problems of the world. Other favorites of mine include the aforementioned "Mudlavia" by Elizabeth Stuckey-French, and Edward P. Jones' "A Rich Man", which also appeared in the 2004 Best American Short Stories anthology. Each of these stories is entertaining and captures the reader's interest, while at the same time conveying important ideas and observations about the human condition.

The 2005 edition of the O. Henry Prize Stories has four stories in common with the 2004 Best American Short Stories collection. Both anthologies contain stories published in 2003, but the O.
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Format: Kindle Edition
This collection, as with any such anthology, has a mix of stories and styles. I found some of the pieces stylistically pretentious or overly dark. The ambiguous endings weren't always ambiguous in a good way. However, most of the tales were really engaging and skillfully told, with out-of-the-ordinary subjects.

My favorites:
Kevin Brockmeir: "The Brief History of the Dead"
Timothy Crouse: "Sphinxes"
Ben Fountain: "Fantasy for Eleven Fingers"
Nell Freudenberger: "The Tutor"
Ruth Prawer Jhabvala: "Refuge in London"
Frances De Pontes Peebles: "The Drowned Woman"
Elizabeth Stuckey-French: "Mudlavia"
Tessa Hadley: "The Card Trick"
Sherman Alexie: "What you Pawn I Will Redeem"
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Format: Paperback
A collection that is easy to read but hard to put down. For those who have little time on hand, these short stories will captivate you just as much as full length (whatever that means) fictions, but are in the meantime much less consuming. A good diversity in styles, both with respect to form and content. Bonus: a composition of short biographies for each author at the back of the book, which introduces the readers to other work by these authors -- a good place to go for additional reading recommendations.
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Format: Paperback
I have been reading the annual O Henry Awards for about 10 years now and look forward every year to its publication. The new editor changed the date it's published as well as the format a few years ago (the top three winners had been the first three stories in the collection with an introduction written by a judge, but now they are mixed in with the judges thoughts at the end of the collection) Although I didn't like this change at first, this idea actually let me, the reader, decide which short story I thought was best without knowing which ones the judges chose. I also enjoyed the inclusion of a short blip from each author about what inspired/influenced them for this particular story. Again, these were listed at the end of the entire collection. All in all, a wonderful reading experience. I recommend it to everyone who loves a good story and who enjoys a variety of topics and styles - which can easily be found in this collection of works from various prize-winning authors.
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