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The Best American Short Stories 2011 by…
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The Best American Short Stories 2011

by Geraldine Brooks (Editor), Heidi Pitlor (Editor)

Other authors: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Contributor), Megan Mayhew Bergman (Contributor), Tom Bissell (Contributor), Jennifer Egan (Contributor), Nathan Englander (Contributor)15 more, Allegra Goodman (Contributor), Ehud Havazelet (Contributor), Caitlin Horrocks (Contributor), Bret Anthony Johnston (Contributor), Claire Keegan (Contributor), Sam Lipsyte (Contributor), Rebecca Makkai (Contributor), Elizabeth McCracken (Contributor), Steven Millhauser (Contributor), Ricardo Nuila (Contributor), Joyce Carol Oates (Contributor), Richard Powers (Contributor), Jess Row (Contributor), George Saunders (Contributor), Mark Slouka (Contributor)

Series: The Best American Short Stories (2011), Best American (2011)

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» See also 15 mentions

Showing 4 of 4
Got solely to read George Saunders' "Escape from Spiderhead." ( )
  SaraMSLIS | Jan 26, 2016 |
This wonderful series is always a mixed bag by its nature, but kudos to the editors for always including a variety so there is something for every taste. That must be a challenge. There wasn't much to flat-out love here, but this year it was easy to see the talent and excellence in just about every selection.

My favorite was Claire Keegan's "Foster," an exceptional story that shows one of the best reasons to read this series - learning about great new voices. Keegan is clearly yet another in a long line of excellent Irish writers, and I can't wait to hunt down more by her. It was head and shoulders over the rest for me.

Sam Lipsyte's "The Dungeon Master" is an entertaining standout that helps keep the collection/series from being too earnest and stuffy.

Ehud Havazelet's "Gurov in Manhttan" is a triumph of narrative voice.

I also vote for Richard Powers's "To the Measures Fall," a passionate paean to book-love that is sure to be underrated and misunderstood.

The stories by Nathan Englander, Elizabeth McCracken, and George Saunders were also quite strong.

Sorry, but I thought the Nuila story was undercooked. It left me asking, Huh? The Bergman and Goodman stories had some nifty ideas but didn't quite convince. The Bissell and Row stories seemed more intellectually/politically well-meaning than convincing. And I've enjoyed Makkai well enough, but four in a row is quite enough. Are you really doing her a favor at this point? Time to give someone else the spotlight. There are a lot of new names in that list of other notables. And Egan won the Pulitzer for Goon Squad: was it really a good idea to include another story from that one? Defensible, of course. All the selections were. It's easy to nitpick, much harder to choose 20 that will please the crowd. Looking forward to next year! ( )
  patronus11 | Mar 31, 2013 |
This book presents 20 stories originally published in US or Canadian periodicals between January 2010 and January 2011, culled from 120 by author Geraldine Brooks. After a foreword and an introduction, by the series editor and the book editor respectively, in which they both discussed the "sameness" of short stories, I knew I was in for a unique collection.

Like any collection, there were some that I hated and some that I loved. Most I liked, in some form or another. Mostly, I admire the form of the short story and how an author can say so much in so little space where every word counts and not an image is wasted. So while I never rate a collection highly if I rate it at all (because I wouldn't read the whole collection from cover to cover again), I really enjoy the time spent dipping into these collections. Even if I really hated a story, I've discovered an author to stay away from.

Of the stories that stood out to me, I enjoyed "Property" by Elizabeth McCracken, which was bittersweet but the first story I really connected to, and "Phantoms" by Stephen Millhauser, which was deliciously creepy without being horror. Honorable mention goes to "The Sleep" by Caitlin Horrocks about a town that decides to hibernate, and which just begs for discussion - I asked by English major brother to read it because I wanted to see what he came away with. But my absolute favorite of the collection was "To the Measures Fall" by Richard Powers. Its format is really unique, using second person and questions at the end of each section that are reminiscent of English tests. This could have distracted me from the story itself, except for the premise: you discover a used book that eventually becomes part of your life, even though its meaning and your responses change over time. I could relate so well that it doesn't matter that the "you" in story is quite a bit older than me and has a life ultimately different from mine. That experience is one I can understand.
2 vote bell7 | Apr 17, 2012 |
I love short stories and look forward to the each year's edition of the Best American Short Stories comes out. Each year there is a different editor and it is interesting to see what they pick. Also interesting is that each of the authors gets a short bio section and an opportunity to talk about the story. It's amazing how long these authors have been perfecting their craft and how educated they are. I think the competition is intense for an author to get their works published. Also interesting is what the author's say about the chosen stories. Some of the stories are worked over and over for years. Others are images they had in their heads and they have been gestating for a time as a story comes out of the image.

I love it, generally. This year I have to say the stories as a whole were a little disappointing. I look for things to happen in stories and in too many of these stories not a whole lot happened. Still I'm glad I read it and am looking forward to the next edition. I give this three stars out of five. ( )
  YogiABB | Apr 6, 2012 |
Showing 4 of 4
In her foreword, Heidi Pitlor, the series editor, openly acknowledges her own phobia of experimental fiction. Geraldine Brooks, who chose the selections for the current volume, also professes a disdain for what she calls “tricksy, clever” writing with little emotional content, or writers who treat the conventional ideal of plot “as if it were a hair in the soup, unwelcome and embarrassing.” But she is equally disturbed at the “hive mind” she finds to be at work in contemporary fiction. “There’s nothing wrong with writing stories set in bedrooms, classrooms, kitchens,” she writes. “These are the places where we spend large slabs of our lives. But the air becomes stale there.”

Is that the choice: linguistic trickery or domestic ennui? Happily, the stories in Best American Short Stories 2011, which range across an impressive spectrum of subjects and incorporate a variety of styles, belie the pessimism of the volume’s editors. Drawn from nearly a dozen different publications—McSweeney’s accounts for two, the New Yorker for six—these stories feel far removed from the suburban subdivision.
added by Shortride | editProspect, Ruth Franklin (Dec 1, 2011)
 

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Brooks, GeraldineEditorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Pitlor, HeidiEditormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Adichie, Chimamanda NgoziContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bergman, Megan MayhewContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bissell, TomContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Egan, JenniferContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Englander, NathanContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Goodman, AllegraContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Havazelet, EhudContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Horrocks, CaitlinContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Johnston, Bret AnthonyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Keegan, ClaireContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lipsyte, SamContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Makkai, RebeccaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
McCracken, ElizabethContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Millhauser, StevenContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Nuila, RicardoContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Oates, Joyce CarolContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Powers, RichardContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Row, JessContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Saunders, GeorgeContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Slouka, MarkContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0547242166, Paperback)

The Best American Series®
First, Best, and Best-Selling

The Best American series is the premier annual showcase for the country’s finest short fiction and nonfiction. Each volume’s series editor selects notable works from hundreds of magazines, journals, and websites. A special guest editor, a leading writer in the field, then chooses the best twenty or so pieces to publish. This unique system has made the Best American series the most respected — and most popular — of its kind.

The Best American Short Stories 2011 includes

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Megan Mayhew Bergman, Jennifer Egan,
Nathan Englander, Allegra Goodman,
Ehud Havazelet, Rebecca Makkai, Steven Millhauser,
George Saunders, Mark Slouka, and others

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:12 -0400)

Presents twenty of the best works of short fiction of the past year from a variety of acclaimed sources.

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