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Prize Stories 1993: The O'Henry Awards (Pen / O. Henry Prize Stories) Paperback – March 1, 1993
This month's Book With Buzz: "Little Fires Everywhere" by Celeste Ng
From the bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You, a riveting novel that traces the intertwined fates of the picture - perfect Richardson family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives. See more
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From Publishers Weekly
This uneven entry in the 73-year-old short-fiction series features a bevy of tense relationships involving lovers and spouses, members of different races, and parents and children. Abrahams chooses stories by some of his perennial favorites with lackluster results (Joyce Carol Oates depicts a mother who helps her college-age son extricate himself from a rendezvous with an older woman; Alice Adams pens a reverie to a cat). And some stories feature timely plots or important themes but are written in prose that is amateurish or unbelievable (Peter Weltner describes gay lovers whose dissatisfactions with each other come to a head when their older gay neighbor dies; C. E. Poverman recounts an acquaintance rape from the point of view of the rapist, a male professor; in Josephine Jacobsen's scenario, a rich tourist catches her maid trying on her jewelry and inadvertently ruins her life. However, the anthology has some pieces that are both finely crafted and incisive. Through her description of a Christmas game of charades, Lorrie Moore demonstrates how members of a family fail to relate to one another; Cornelia Nixon captures the unhappy but symbiotic union of a wife, who says she desperately wants children, and a husband who refuses to be a father; and Steven Schwartz limns the guilt of a son whose father hid from the Nazis in a cramped baker's oven.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Kirkus Reviews
After a whiz-bang performance by its cousin, the Best American Short Stories series (1992's volume chosen by Robert Stone), it's interesting to find only one replication here: the first-prize- winning ``The Pugilist at Rest,'' by Thom Jones--a risky, vagrant, powerful meditation on force and violence. But where the Stone was chockablock with fine stories that complemented Jones's, Abrahams' collection makes it stand out all the more for the weakness of its fellows. Andrea Lee's ``Winter Barley''--a shifting group of vignettes about a May-December romance (same subject as Antonya Nelson's ``Dirty Words'' here)--makes an impression with its dense style and lush sensibility, but finally is unable to make any conglomerative effect. Most else included here does make an effect- -but a thin, singular, sentimental one: there's a raft of stories about adult and aging parents (by Charles Eastman, John H. Richardson, Linda Svendsen, Lorrie Moore--are we seeing a new genre: the Long-Term-Care story?); a weak one by Peter Weltner concerning AIDS; and small-bore work by Alice Adams, Stephen Dixon, and Joyce Carol Oates. Meanwhile, C.E. Poverman's ``The Man Who Died''--a professor accused of sexual harassment--is a bit too trumped up yet exposes stark, disturbing sides; and Charles Johnson's ``Kwoon''--a storefront martial-arts school; knowledge as power--is compelling. On the whole, though, this is a tepid bunch of tales-- harvested from what we know (thanks to its counterpart anthology) was a richer field than is suggested here. -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.