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PEN/O. Henry Prize Stories 2010 Paperback – April 20, 2010
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The collection opens up with a story by one of my favorite writers, Annie Proulx. Entitled 'Them Old Cowboy Songs', this story begins in 1885 in the American west. Archie, aged 16, and Rose, aged 14, are in love and marry. All is bliss at first. Archie inherits a little bit of money from his surrogate mother and purchases some acreage. Archie and Rose both work hard. In time, Rose becomes pregnant and Archie goes off to seek paying work in another state as there are no jobs nearby. In this story, the cataclysmic impact of the elements are at war with the American dream of success. That one is able to survive at all is miraculous.
'The Headstrong Historian' by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, takes us to Nigeria where we meet Ngwambe. She is a woman who believes in the culture of her tribe but is also strong enough to stand up against it if necessary. Ngwambe "is a strong-willed woman hemmed in by custom and circumstance, whose beloved son betrays her in an unimaginable way". This story speaks to the strength of inter-generational love and the power of a strong woman.Read more ›
The stories that I especially liked include:
-- "Them Old Cowboy Songs" by Annie Proulx: you won't soon forget this tale about the eternal battle of man versus nature, as illustrated by the challenges a young couple faces establishing a new home and family in the wilderness.
-- "Oh, Death", by James Lasdun: a near-perfect short story in the classic O. Henry style, complete with an interesting plot twist at the end. Lasdun creates some very compelling characters to illustrate the impact of civilization encroaching on the wilderness and especially the pioneers who live off the land.
-- "Into the Gorge", by Ron Rash: a haunting story about how times have changed and what we all may have lost by ceding too much power to bureaucratic authorities.
The duds included Peter Cameron's "The End of My Life in New York", which I felt was focused on nothing more than ephemera, and Alice Munro's "Some Women". I am looking forward to a future volume of the O.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
O. Henry was and is one of my favorite writers. So I was very excited to read the 2010 edition of short stories in his honor. Read morePublished on October 21, 2013 by Kimepoo
I've bought used books from Amazon. Other purchases have been sucessful. This one was not. Marked and highlighted books are to be expectet, but one cannot read this book without... Read morePublished on December 12, 2011 by B. Humphrey
Bought this book for airplane reading, didn't see missing pages (pages 389-420) until after the return deadline. Not a big deal to miss a few stories, still annoying.Published on November 3, 2011 by User