Saturday, April 3, 2010

Review: The Best American Short Stories 2009 ed. by Alice Sebold

Well, another edition of one of my favorite short story collections is over and done with. I think I always talk about how long I've been collecting these volumes (about ten years now) when I review one of them. But that says something to me: consistent high quality. And, once again, the collection delivers.

It's hard to review short story collections. There's less to talk about because there's more to give away. Standouts in this book, for me, were "A Shadow Table" by Alice Fulton, set in the 1920's, with a Japanese flair; "Sagittarius" by Greg Hrbek, which was probably my favorite in the whole collection, about parents trying to come to terms with a, ahem, differently-abled child; and "One Dog Year" by Kevin Moffett, about the last days of John D. Rockefeller.

Those are very simplistic descriptions of the stories, and only descriptions of the ones I particularly liked. All of them, however, stood out in their own ways. To get too far into the details of each storyline would probably lead to me giving away spoilers and endings...I can't keep a secret. Suffice it to say, this collection was excellent, as usual. However, this time, I'm giving it four and a half out of five Whatevers, since it didn't hold my attention as well as the last collection did. Still excellent, still a great introduction to the short fiction form for those who aren't accustomed to it, just not as good as the last one.

Now I'll be starting my third in the Lonesome Dove tetralogy, Dead Man's Walk. I hope it's as good as the other two I've read!


Eva said...

I think these anthologies always sound so interesting! But I've never actually given one a tyr. :)

Lexi said...

I love them! They're great to get a feel for contemporary short story writers.

Melissa (Betty and Boo's Mommy) said...

Completely agree with your review (it is so hard to review these, isn't it?). I'll be linking to yours when I publish my review of this in a little bit.

Lexi said...


Awesome! Glad you enjoyed this one, too!