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The Scribner Anthology of Contemporary Short Fiction: Fifty North American… (1999)

by Lex Williford (Editor), Michael Martone (Editor)

Other authors: Sherman Alexie (Contributor), Margaret Atwood (Contributor), Toni Cade Bambara (Contributor), Russell Banks (Contributor), John Barth (Contributor)45 more, Donald Barthelme (Contributor), Rick Bass (Contributor), Richard Bausch (Contributor), Charles Baxter (Contributor), Madison Smartt Bell (Contributor), Amy Bloom (Contributor), Kate Braverman (Contributor), Robert Olen Butler (Contributor), Ethan Canin (Contributor), Raymond Carver (Contributor), Sandra Cisneros (Contributor), Michael Cunningham (Contributor), Junot Díaz (Contributor), Stuart Dybek (Contributor), Tony Earley (Contributor), Louise Erdrich (Contributor), Richard Ford (Contributor), David Gates (Contributor), Tim Gautreaux (Contributor), Ron Hansen (Contributor), Amy Hempel (Contributor), Denis Johnson (Contributor), Edward P. Jones (Contributor), Thom Jones (Contributor), David Michael Kaplan (Contributor), Janet Kauffman (Contributor), Jamaica Kincaid (Contributor), David Leavitt (Contributor), Reginald McKnight (Contributor), Lorrie Moore (Contributor), Bharati Mukherjee (Contributor), Alice Munro (Contributor), Tim O'Brien (Contributor), Joyce Carol Oates (Contributor), Cynthia Ozick (Contributor), Annie Proulx (Contributor), Mark Richard (Contributor), Lee Smith (Contributor), Susan Sontag (Contributor), Amy Tan (Contributor), Melanie Rae Thon (Contributor), Stephanie Vaughn (Contributor), Alice Walker (Contributor), John Edgar Wideman (Contributor), Joy Williams (Contributor)

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457446,325 (3.94)2
Stories chosen by teachers of college writing-programs, such courses now taught in 800 universities. The stories range from Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried, a slice of life from the Vietnam War, to Amy Tan's Two Kinds, the efforts of a Chinese-American mother to turn her daughter into a prodigy.… (more)
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» See also 2 mentions

Showing 4 of 4
"Sarah Cole: A Type of Love Story," by Russell Banks (1984): 8.5
- I'd read this before. I remember flipping through a girlfriend's Scribner short story collection and reading this story about a beautiful man fucking and fucking over the ugliest woman alive and being strangely moved. He threads every very delicate needle carefully, and you're often unsure whether he falls too much on the side of self-incrimination or self-aggrandizement and gendered projection or full-fleshed humanity and that ambiguity is exactly what works here, esp. as it's coupled with the narrator's own wonder at his actions, at his motivations, and ultimately his own burning desire to want to know whether he's good or bad, whether this thing, this affair, was "good" or "bad."

"The School," by Donald Barthelme (1974): 8.25
- I've read Barthelme and I've not liked Barthelme. Two-thirds through this short short-story I was prepared to amend all of that, throw off those immature thoughts that, while the absurd had its place, the imperative had passed by the time his work made its way to my hands (oh, and that the humor was too little or too droll). Indeed, two-thirds through this simple story of a school where an escalating series of deaths happens (from plants to snakes to puppies to Korean boys and classmates), I felt overturned--the humor was there, and not simply in the dry language, but embedded in the trajectory of the story itself (i.e. once you realize that things are going to keep dying and that these things will be increasingly 'meaningful', thus the puppy and boy turns are a bit humorous), and the surreality was working. All of that held, that is until the final page, when he leans EVEN further into the same and makes the school a complete Anarchosurrealworld. The thread was lost, despite the image of the gerbil walking into the class on its own, and I'm back to where I started.

"The Hermit's Story," by Rick Bass (2002): 7.75
- The piece: recounting of a near-death exp. under a frozen lake during a blizzard, in which we Learn Something and humans, animals, and what connects us. Of the breed of plodding, contemplative litfic that corkscrews a Big Theme overtop of an otherwise mundane story — and the thing about these is that they often work. Here we're about halfway there.

"The Fireman's Wife," by Richard Bausch (1989): 9
- A churning little present-tense portrait of ineffable domestic disaffection. Bausch's hand is never heavy on the story, and there's little overt authorial intercession in the narrative, save the implicit centering/privileging of the wife's emotional state on account of being tied to her perspective.
  Ebenmaessiger | Oct 8, 2019 |
Most of these stories were fantastic. This is not only a collection of entertaining stories but also a collection of instructive stories. I will definitely refer back to this volume often. There were a few duds in my opinion, so I'm curious to know why those stories were selected for the anthology. ( )
  StefanieBrookTrout | Feb 4, 2017 |
Probably one of the better short story anthologies I've read (still have the Oxford and Ecco anthology left). Starts off incredibly strong, meanders for a bit, gets interesting again, then boring, then great, then really great, and then finishes strong. So, your typical anthology.

Absolute favorites:

"Sarah Cole: A Type of Love Story," Russel Banks
"The Hermit's Story," Rick Bass
"The Fireman's Wife," Richard Bausch
"The Disappeared," Charles Baxter
"The Caretaker," Anthony Doerr
"Communist," Richard Ford
"The Kind of Light that Shines in Texas," Reginald McKnight
"The Secret Goldfish," David Means
"Sea Oak," George Saunders ( )
1 vote Mifune | May 17, 2012 |
I used this book in a creative writing class as a study of short story construction, characterization, etc. This is also a good introduction to multiple authors including Annie Proulx and Amy Tan.
  MossRose | Feb 28, 2007 |
Showing 4 of 4
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» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Williford, LexEditorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Martone, MichaelEditormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Alexie, ShermanContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Atwood, MargaretContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bambara, Toni CadeContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Banks, RussellContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Barth, JohnContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Barthelme, DonaldContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bass, RickContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bausch, RichardContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Baxter, CharlesContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bell, Madison SmarttContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bloom, AmyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Braverman, KateContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Butler, Robert OlenContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Canin, EthanContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Carver, RaymondContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Cisneros, SandraContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Cunningham, MichaelContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Díaz, JunotContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Dybek, StuartContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Earley, TonyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Erdrich, LouiseContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ford, RichardContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gates, DavidContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gautreaux, TimContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hansen, RonContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hempel, AmyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Johnson, DenisContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Jones, Edward P.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Jones, ThomContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kaplan, David MichaelContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kauffman, JanetContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kincaid, JamaicaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Leavitt, DavidContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
McKnight, ReginaldContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Moore, LorrieContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Mukherjee, BharatiContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Munro, AliceContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
O'Brien, TimContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Oates, Joyce CarolContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ozick, CynthiaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Proulx, AnnieContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Richard, MarkContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Smith, LeeContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Sontag, SusanContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Tan, AmyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Thon, Melanie RaeContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Vaughn, StephanieContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Walker, AliceContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Wideman, John EdgarContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Williams, JoyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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Stories chosen by teachers of college writing-programs, such courses now taught in 800 universities. The stories range from Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried, a slice of life from the Vietnam War, to Amy Tan's Two Kinds, the efforts of a Chinese-American mother to turn her daughter into a prodigy.

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