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Granta 54: Best of Young American Novelists…

Granta 54: Best of Young American Novelists

by Ian Jack (Editor)

Other authors: Sherman Alexie (Contributor), Madison Smartt Bell (Contributor), Ethan Canin (Contributor), Edwidge Danticat (Contributor), Tom Drury (Contributor)15 more, Tony Earley (Contributor), Jeffrey Eugenides (Contributor), Jonathan Franzen (Contributor), David Guterson (Contributor), David Haynes (Contributor), Allen Kurzweil (Contributor), Elizabeth McCracken (Contributor), Lorrie Moore (Contributor), Fae Myenne Ng (Contributor), Robert O'Connor (Contributor), Stewart O'Nan (Contributor), Chris Offutt (Contributor), Mona Simpson (Contributor), Melanie Rae Thon (Contributor), Kate Wheeler (Contributor)

Series: Granta (54)

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This is an edition of the British literary magazine Granta, #54, in which a group of authors ("Judges") selected 20 American Authors to include with the only rule being that the author was a US citizen under forty who had published one novel or short story collection by May 31, 1995. The editor describes some of the process and laments a number of authors who were not included but probably should have been but this was a group effort. Included here are 20 stories, some of which are short stories and most of which are excerpts from novels and works in progress. I read this in between and as a break while I read other things. The stories are presented alphabetically by author, and the authors are: Sherman Alexie, Madison Smartt Bell, Ethan Canin, Edwidge Danticat, Tom Drury, Tony Early, Jeffrey Eugenides, Jonathan Franzen, David Guterson, David Hayes, Allen Kurzweil, Elizabeth McCracken, Lorrie Moore, Fae Myenne Ng, Robert O' Connor, Chris Offutt, Stewart O'Nan, Mona Simpson, Melanie Rae Thon, and Kate Wheeler.

An interesting portrait gallery of all 20 authors appears in the middle of the book. Each story is prefaced with a brief profile of the author.

To start, the Sherman Alexie excerpt put me off - did not care for the style at all although I like what he was writing. The Madison Smartt Bell excerpt really caught my attention and took me to the time of Toussaint Louverture. I really liked the story by Ethan Canin - at the time in 1996 it was described as an excerpt from an upcoming novel, his second. My library does not have it but I will keep my eyes open for his books going forward - I want to give him another try.

I failed to "take notes" on most of them. I can't say I was disappointed other than a few stories, notably the opener by Sherman Alexie, but the collection did tweak my interest in many of these authors, and also gave me a sample of ones that I will probably pass. Several of the authors I was already familiar with but most were brand new to me. Ones I plan to read more of include Tom Drury and Ethan Canin. ( )
  RBeffa | May 8, 2018 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jack, IanEditorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Alexie, ShermanContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bell, Madison SmarttContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Canin, EthanContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Danticat, EdwidgeContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Drury, TomContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Earley, TonyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Eugenides, JeffreyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Franzen, JonathanContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Guterson, DavidContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Haynes, DavidContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kurzweil, AllenContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
McCracken, ElizabethContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Moore, LorrieContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ng, Fae MyenneContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
O'Connor, RobertContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
O'Nan, StewartContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Offutt, ChrisContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Simpson, MonaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Thon, Melanie RaeContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Wheeler, KateContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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