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The Best American Short Stories of the Century (2000)

by John Updike (Editor), Katrina Kenison (Series Editor)

Other authors: Alice Adams (Contributor), Sherwood Anderson (Contributor), Donald Barthelme (Contributor), Ann Beattie (Contributor), Saul Bellow (Contributor)51 more, Elizabeth Bishop (Contributor), Harold Brodkey (Composer), Rosellen Brown (Contributor), Raymond Carver (Contributor), Willa Cather (Contributor), John Cheever (Contributor), Grace Stone Coates (Contributor), Alice Elliott Dark (Contributor), Pam Durban (Contributor), Stanley Elkin (Contributor), William Faulkner (Contributor), Carolyn Ferrell (Contributor), F. Scott Fitzgerald (Contributor), Mary Ladd Gavell (Contributor), Martha Gellhorn (Contributor), Susan Glaspell (Contributor), Alexander Godin (Contributor), Lawrence Sargent Hall (Contributor), Ernest Hemingway (Contributor), Paul Horgan (Contributor), Pam Houston (Contributor), Gish Jen (Contributor), Thom Jones (Contributor), Ring Lardner (Contributor), Mary Lerner (Contributor), Bernard Malamud (Contributor), James Alan McPherson (Contributor), Lorrie Moore (Composer), Alice Munro (Contributor), Vladimir Nabokov (Contributor), Tim O'Brien (Cover artist), Flannery O'Connor (Contributor), Joyce Carol Oates (Contributor), Cynthia Ozick (Contributor), Dorothy Parker (Contributor), Katherine Anne Porter (Contributor), J. F. Powers (Contributor), Annie Proulx (Contributor), Benjamin Rosenblatt (Contributor), Philip Roth (Contributor), William Saroyan (Contributor), Isaac Bashevis Singer (Contributor), Susan Sontag (Contributor), Jean Stafford (Contributor), Jean Toomer (Contributor), John Updike (Contributor), Robert Penn Warren (Contributor), Eudora Welty (Contributor), E. B. White (Contributor), Tennessee Williams (Contributor), Richard Wright (Contributor)

Series: The Best American Short Stories (20th Century), Best American (20th Century)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,414910,126 (3.92)21
"The Best American Short Stories of the Century brings together the best of the best - fifty-five extraordinary stories that represent a century's worth of unsurpassed accomplishments in this quintessentially American literary genre. Here are the stories that have endured the test of time: masterworks by such writers as Ernest Hemingway, William Faulkner, Willa Cather, F. Scott Fitzgerald, William Saroyan, Flannery O'Connor, John Cheever, Eudora Welty, Philip Roth, Joyce Carol Oates, Raymond Carver, Cynthia Ozick, and others. These are the writers who have shaped and defined the landscape of the American short story, who have unflinchingly explored all aspects of the human condition, and whose works will continue to speak to us as we enter the next century."--Jacket.… (more)
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» See also 21 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
One word: twee.

A collection of white people (mostly) pottering about (mostly) and then, to REALLY mix things up a bit, a couple of stories about (horror of horrors) social an economic stress. Phew, that was intense.

A complete lack of imagination by the editor: these are no one's best short stories. ( )
  GirlMeetsTractor | Mar 22, 2020 |
This was quite a collection. Although there were misses, the talented writers of various stories really managed to make this collection shine. For those interested in short stories, especially American ones, I recommend this collection. It was worth the read.

3.5 stars. ( )
  DanielSTJ | May 8, 2019 |
"The Best American Short Stories of the Century" is really a compilation of John Updike's choices of what he felt were the best short stories from the annual volumes of "The Best American Short Stories" began back in 1915. It is not a collection of best short stories in general. Nearly every year from 1915 to 1999 has a story chosen for this volume.

I found it interesting that most of these short stories covered rather depressing topics. In fact, I'd say death is a topic in most of them. Still, I found most of these stories quite readable and am a bit more appreciative of the short story form. ( )
  ValerieAndBooks | Feb 2, 2015 |
Sez who? There were a few of the short stories that I enjoyed, but they were mostly from the 1980's and 1990's. I found a lot of the earlier stories to be fairly weak. ( )
  AliceAnna | Sep 9, 2014 |
-A Jury of Her Peers
Susan Glaspell
published 1917 in Every Week

-Theft
Katherine Anne Porter
published 1930 in Gyroscope
  Yona | May 2, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Updike, JohnEditorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kenison, KatrinaSeries Editormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Adams, AliceContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Anderson, SherwoodContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Barthelme, DonaldContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Beattie, AnnContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bellow, SaulContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bishop, ElizabethContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Brodkey, HaroldComposersecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Brown, RosellenContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Carver, RaymondContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Cather, WillaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Cheever, JohnContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Coates, Grace StoneContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Dark, Alice ElliottContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Durban, PamContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Elkin, StanleyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Faulkner, WilliamContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ferrell, CarolynContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Fitzgerald, F. ScottContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gavell, Mary LaddContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gellhorn, MarthaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Glaspell, SusanContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Godin, AlexanderContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hall, Lawrence SargentContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hemingway, ErnestContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Horgan, PaulContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Houston, PamContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Jen, GishContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Jones, ThomContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lardner, RingContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lerner, MaryContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Malamud, BernardContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
McPherson, James AlanContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Moore, LorrieComposersecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Munro, AliceContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Nabokov, VladimirContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
O'Brien, TimCover artistsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
O'Connor, FlanneryContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Oates, Joyce CarolContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ozick, CynthiaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Parker, DorothyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Porter, Katherine AnneContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Powers, J. F.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Proulx, AnnieContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Rosenblatt, BenjaminContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Roth, PhilipContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Saroyan, WilliamContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Singer, Isaac BashevisContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Sontag, SusanContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Stafford, JeanContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Toomer, JeanContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Updike, JohnContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Warren, Robert PennContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Welty, EudoraContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
White, E. B.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Williams, TennesseeContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Wright, RichardContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed

Belongs to Series

Best American (20th Century)

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Edward J. O'Brien was twenty-three years old, already a published poet and playwright, when he began work on the first volume of The Best American Short Stories. (Foreword)
These stories have been four times selected. (Introduction)
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"The Best American Short Stories of the Century brings together the best of the best - fifty-five extraordinary stories that represent a century's worth of unsurpassed accomplishments in this quintessentially American literary genre. Here are the stories that have endured the test of time: masterworks by such writers as Ernest Hemingway, William Faulkner, Willa Cather, F. Scott Fitzgerald, William Saroyan, Flannery O'Connor, John Cheever, Eudora Welty, Philip Roth, Joyce Carol Oates, Raymond Carver, Cynthia Ozick, and others. These are the writers who have shaped and defined the landscape of the American short story, who have unflinchingly explored all aspects of the human condition, and whose works will continue to speak to us as we enter the next century."--Jacket.

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Book description
Anthology contains:
  • Introduction / John Updike
  • Zelig / Benjamin Rosenblatt
  • Little Selves / Mary Lerner
  • A Jury of Her Peers / Susan Glaspell
  • The Other Woman / Sherwood Anderson
  • The Golden Honeymoon / Ring Lardner
  • Blood-Burning Moon / Jean Toomer
  • The Killers / Ernest Hemingway
  • Double Birthday / Willa Cather
  • Wild Plums / Grace Stone Coates
  • Theft / Katherine Anne Porter
  • That Evening Sun Go Down / William Faulkner
  • Here We Are / Dorothy Parker
  • Crazy Sunday / F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • My Dead Brother Comes to America / Alexander Godin
  • Resurrection of a Life / William Saroyan
  • Christmas Gift / Robert Penn Warren
  • Bright and Morning Star / Richard Wright
  • The Hitch-Hikers / Eudora Welty
  • The Peach Stone / Paul Horgan
  • "That in Aleppo Once…" / Vladimir Nabokov
  • The Interior Castle / Jean Stafford
  • Miami-New York / Martha Gellhorn
  • The Second Tree from the Corner / E.B. White
  • The Farmer's Children / Elizabeth Bishop
  • Death of a Favorite / J.F. Powers
  • The Resemblance Between a Violin Case and a Coffin / Tennessee Williams
  • The Country Husband / John Cheever
  • Greenleaf / Flannery O'Connor
  • The Ledge / Lawrence Sargent Hall
  • Defender of the Faith / Philip Roth
  • Criers and Kibitzers, Kibitzers and Criers / Stanley Elkin
  • The German Refugee / Bernard Malamud
  • Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? / Joyce Carol Oates
  • The Rotifer / Mary Ladd Gavell
  • Gold Coast / James Alan McPherson
  • The Key / Isaac Bashevis Singer
  • A City of Churches / Donald Barthelme
  • How to Win / Rosellen Brown
  • Roses, Rhododendron / Alice Adams
  • Verona: A Young Woman Speaks / Harold Brodkey
  • A Silver Dish / Saul Bellow
  • Gesturing / John Updike
  • The Shawl / Cynthia Ozick
  • Where I'm Calling From / Raymond Carver
  • Janus / Ann Beattie
  • The Way We Live Now / Susan Sontag
  • The Things They Carried / Tim O'Brien
  • Meneseteung / Alice Munro
  • You're Ugly, Too / Lorrie Moore
  • I Want to Live! / Thom Jones
  • In the Gloaming / Alice Elliott Dark
  • Proper Library / Carolyn Ferrell
  • Birthmates / Gish Jen
  • Soon / Pam Durban
  • The Half-Skinned Steer / Annie Proulx
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