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The Best American Short Stories 2013 (2013)

by Elizabeth Strout (Editor), Heidi Pitlor (Editor)

Other authors: Daniel Alarcón (Contributor), Charles Baxter (Contributor), Michael Byers (Contributor), Junot Díaz (Contributor), Karl Taro Greenfeld (Contributor)15 more, Gish Jen (Contributor), Bret Anthony Johnston (Contributor), Sheila Kohler (Contributor), David Means (Contributor), Steven Millhauser (Contributor), Lorrie Moore (Contributor), Alice Munro (Contributor), Antonya Nelson (Contributor), Kirstin Valdez Quade (Contributor), Suzanne Rivecca (Contributor), George Saunders (Contributor), Jim Shepard (Contributor), Elizabeth Tallent (Contributor), Joan Wickersham (Contributor), Callan Wink (Contributor)

Series: Best American (2013), The Best American Short Stories (2013)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
267695,866 (3.44)3
Literary Criticism. Nonfiction. HTML:"As our vision becomes more global, our storytelling is stretching in many ways. Stories increasingly change point of view, switch location, and sometimes pack as much material as a short novel might," writes guest editor Elizabeth Strout. "It's the variety of voices that most indicates the increasing confluence of cultures involved in making us who we are." The Best American Short Stories 2013 presents an impressive diversity of writers who dexterously lead us into their corners of the world.
In "Miss Lora," Junot Díaz masterfully puts us in the mind of a teenage boy who throws aside his better sense and pursues an intimate affair with a high school teacher. Sheila Kohler tackles innocence and abuse as a child wanders away from her mother, in thrall to a stranger she believes is the "Magic Man." Kirstin Valdez Quade's "Nemecia" depicts the after-effects of a secret, violent family trauma. Joan Wickersham's "The Tunnel" is a tragic love story about a mother's declining health and her daughter's helplessness as she struggles to balance her responsibility to her mother and her own desires. New author Callan Wink's "Breatharians" unsettles the reader as a farm boy shoulders a grim chore in the wake of his parents' estrangement.
"Elizabeth Strout was a wonderful reader, an author who knows well that the sound of one's writing is just as important as and indivisible from the content," writes series editor Heidi Pitlor. "Here are twenty compellingly told, powerfully felt stories about urgent matters with profound consequences."
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» See also 3 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
I found most of these stories a bit boring. The ones I liked were: Malaria, Horned Men, Encounters with Unexpected Animals, Magic Man, and Philanthropy. That’s only 5 of the 20 stories. ( )
  CaitlinDaugherty | Aug 28, 2023 |
I purchase these "Best American" books every year. The collections focus on specific genres such as, in this case, short stories, science, essays, poetry and others. My usual annual favorite is "Best American Non-required Reading.
The 2013 best short stories was, as always, a good collection of really good short stories. Since the short stories selected are chosen from other publications, they have been read and reviewed to be included in their originally published magazines and then reviewed and selected again to be in this collection. Thus, they really are BEST,
I am sorry to see how many short stories these days are "dark" and some "very dark" and I frequently do not finish such depressing or cynical works. But the writing quality is always top notch and I always look forward each year to the next annual collection. ( )
  PaulLoesch | Apr 2, 2022 |
I purchase these "Best American" books every year. The collections focus on specific genres such as, in this case, short stories, science, essays, poetry and others. My usual annual favorite is "Best American Non-required Reading.
The 2013 best short stories was, as always, a good collection of really good short stories. Since the short stories selected are chosen from other publications, they have been read and reviewed to be included in their originally published magazines and then reviewed and selected again to be in this collection. Thus, they really are BEST,
I am sorry to see how many short stories these days are "dark" and some "very dark" and I frequently do not finish such depressing or cynical works. But the writing quality is always top notch and I always look forward each year to the next annual collection. ( )
  Paul-the-well-read | Apr 18, 2020 |
It goes the way that most anthologies go: some extraordinary stories and some dull ones. However, even the dull ones are written very well, and honestly there are far more extraordinary ones than dull ones in this anthology.

The Provincials: Not the best, but a very amusing story.

Bravery: Very well-written, but I didn't actually LIKE it.

Malaria: I love this story. So interesting.

Miss Lora: I don't really like Junot Diaz stories because they always trigger my PTSD episodes and in general make me feel very uncomfortable. However, that doesn't mean they're not good stories.

Horned Men: This is just freaky. Didn't really like it.

The Third Dumpster: An interesting story with some interesting parts, but as a whole just rather dull.

Encounters with Unexpected Animals: Also interesting, but not my favorite.

Magic Men: More PTSD. But what do expect from contemporary literature? Even so, I loved this story because of how well written it is. Genuinely scary.

The Chair: A weird, forgettable little story.

A Voice In The Night: Not especially memorable or powerful, but it's still very cool and written in an interesting way.

Referential: I LOVE this story. But what do you expect from Lorrie Moore?

Train: I LOVE this story too, though for completely different reasons. It's just so... COOL.

Chapter Two: Not a huge fan of this story. I just wasn't interested in any of the characters or their lives.

Nemecia: This is a strange story, and I didn't like it because I didn't like Nemecia. At all. Despite this, it's still a very interesting story and I don't regret reading it.

Philanthropy: A very cool story. An honest story, which I appreciated.

The Semplica-Girl Diaries: LOVE THIS STORY.

The World to Come: Dull. Unspeakably so.

The Wilderness: Beautiful. Simple, elegant, relevant.

The Tunnel, or The News from Spain: This story completely drew me in from start to finish. It's just so interesting and painful and sad.

Breatharians: If it weren't for the cats, I might've liked this story. Not sure. ( )
  BrynDahlquis | Feb 1, 2015 |
The Tunnel, or the News From Spain Joan Wickersham
Train Alice Munro ( )
  TanyaTomato | Aug 5, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Strout, ElizabethEditorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Pitlor, HeidiEditormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Alarcón, DanielContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Baxter, CharlesContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Byers, MichaelContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Díaz, JunotContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Greenfeld, Karl TaroContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Jen, GishContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Johnston, Bret AnthonyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kohler, SheilaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Means, DavidContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Millhauser, StevenContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Moore, LorrieContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Munro, AliceContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Nelson, AntonyaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Quade, Kirstin ValdezContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Rivecca, SuzanneContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Saunders, GeorgeContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Shepard, JimContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Tallent, ElizabethContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Wickersham, JoanContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Wink, CallanContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed

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Literary Criticism. Nonfiction. HTML:"As our vision becomes more global, our storytelling is stretching in many ways. Stories increasingly change point of view, switch location, and sometimes pack as much material as a short novel might," writes guest editor Elizabeth Strout. "It's the variety of voices that most indicates the increasing confluence of cultures involved in making us who we are." The Best American Short Stories 2013 presents an impressive diversity of writers who dexterously lead us into their corners of the world.
In "Miss Lora," Junot Díaz masterfully puts us in the mind of a teenage boy who throws aside his better sense and pursues an intimate affair with a high school teacher. Sheila Kohler tackles innocence and abuse as a child wanders away from her mother, in thrall to a stranger she believes is the "Magic Man." Kirstin Valdez Quade's "Nemecia" depicts the after-effects of a secret, violent family trauma. Joan Wickersham's "The Tunnel" is a tragic love story about a mother's declining health and her daughter's helplessness as she struggles to balance her responsibility to her mother and her own desires. New author Callan Wink's "Breatharians" unsettles the reader as a farm boy shoulders a grim chore in the wake of his parents' estrangement.
"Elizabeth Strout was a wonderful reader, an author who knows well that the sound of one's writing is just as important as and indivisible from the content," writes series editor Heidi Pitlor. "Here are twenty compellingly told, powerfully felt stories about urgent matters with profound consequences."

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