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The Best American Essays 1998 by Cynthia…

The Best American Essays 1998 (1998)

by Cynthia Ozick (Editor), Robert Atwan (Editor)

Other authors: Anwar F. Accawi (Contributor), André Aciman (Contributor), Robert Atwan (Foreword), Helen Barolini (Contributor), Saul Bellow (Contributor)22 more, Jeremy Bernstein (Contributor), Sven Birkerts (Contributor), J. M. Coetzee (Contributor), Brian Doyle (Contributor), Andre Dubus (Contributor), Joseph Epstein (Contributor), Ian Frazier (Contributor), William H. Gass (Contributor), Elizabeth Graver (Contributor), Edward Hoagland (Contributor), Jamaica Kincaid (Contributor), William Maxwell (Contributor), John McPhee (Contributor), Mary Oliver (Contributor), Cynthia Ozick (Introduction), Tim Robinson (Contributor), Oliver Sachs (Contributor), Lynne Sharon Schwartz (Contributor), Louis Simpson (Contributor), Diana Trilling (Contributor), John Updike (Contributor), James Wood (Contributor)

Series: The Best American Essays (1998), Best American (1998)

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I found this at a used book store bargain bin, it is now my second "Best American Series" book and I really enjoyed it. The variety of writing that can fall under the classification of "essay" is so vast that the editor has somewhat of a hard job in choosing. In this case Ozick focuses on retrospections, older people looking back on their lives. I appreciate the thematic organization, but I am certain these are not the "best", rather ones that have a common theme. But then, what is "the best"? J.M. Coetzee examines this question and more in "What is realism?", probably the most mind blowing essay of the bunch - I'm not sure if it's fiction, non-fiction or a lesson on writing but it really opened my eyes to some of the games and tricks of writing.

Other essays I enjoyed include Jeremy Bernstein's "The Merely Very Good" which is both an interesting history lesson about some famous 20th century physicists, and a lesson of what it means to really smart, but not at the top of your field, second-tier. "A Peaceable Kingdom" by Edward Hoagland is a short beautifully romantic piece about the natural world at a summer mountain cottage, although it could just as easily be anyones back-yard (replace the bears with chipmunks). Louis Simpson's "Soldier's Heart" is a somewhat dark and effecting story of a WWII vet who had PTSD and ended up in the hospital getting electro-shock therapy and the lifetime it took to recover and heal from both experiences. Finally, Diana Trilling's "A Visit To Camelot" is a re-telling of a party she went to at the Whitehouse with the Kennedy's, it's magical.

--Review by Stephen Balbach, via CoolReading (c) 2008 cc-by-nd ( )
  Stbalbach | Mar 24, 2008 |
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ozick, CynthiaEditorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Atwan, RobertEditormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Accawi, Anwar F.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Aciman, AndréContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Atwan, RobertForewordsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Barolini, HelenContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bellow, SaulContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bernstein, JeremyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Birkerts, SvenContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Coetzee, J. M.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Doyle, BrianContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Dubus, AndreContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Epstein, JosephContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Frazier, IanContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gass, William H.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Graver, ElizabethContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hoagland, EdwardContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kincaid, JamaicaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Maxwell, WilliamContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
McPhee, JohnContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Oliver, MaryContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ozick, CynthiaIntroductionsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Robinson, TimContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Sachs, OliverContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Schwartz, Lynne SharonContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Simpson, LouisContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Trilling, DianaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Updike, JohnContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Wood, JamesContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0395860520, Paperback)

The Best American Essays 1998 features a captivating mix of people and prose, as guest editor Cynthia Ozick shapes a volume around the intricacies of human memory. The reflections and recollections of Saul Bellow, John Updike, Jamaica Kincaid, John McPhee, and Andre Dubus join company with many voices new to the series, as an astonishing variety of writers share their deepest thought on ecstasy and injury, ambition and failure, privacy and notoriety.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:01:17 -0400)

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