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The Best American Short Stories 2005 (2005)

by Michael Chabon (Editor), Katrina Kenison (Series Editor)

Other authors: Nathaniel Bellows (Contributor), David Bezmozgis (Contributor), Tom Bissell (Contributor), Charles D'Ambrosio (Contributor), Cory Doctorow (Contributor)15 more, Edward P. Jones (Contributor), Dennis Lehane (Contributor), J. Robert Lennon (Contributor), Kelly Link (Contributor), Thomas McGuane (Contributor), David Means (Contributor), Alice Munro (Contributor), Joyce Carol Oates (Contributor), Alix Ohlin (Contributor), Tom Perrotta (Contributor), Tim Pratt (Contributor), Rishi Reddi (Contributor), George Saunders (Contributor), Lynne Sharon Schwartz (Contributor), Joy Williams (Contributor)

Series: The Best American Short Stories (2005), Best American (2005)

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697632,816 (3.72)19
"In "Until Gwen," Dennis Lehane offers a narrative experiment and a haunting picture of a father and son. Tom Perrotta's "The Smile on Happy Chang's Face" explores a Little League umpire's attempt to cope with his biggest personal regret and the inability to make a decisive call on the field. Thomas McGuane's "Old Friends" examines the intersection of shared history and obligation, while Joyce Carol Oates meditates on the inescapable bonds of family in "Cousins." In "Stone Animals," Kelly Link takes a chilling look at a family spiraling beyond control in the surreal landscape of their new home. By turns humorous, poignant, and profound, the stories of 2005 add up to an eclectic installment of this anthology."--Jacket.… (more)
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» See also 19 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
This was an engrossing, interesting, and absolutely riveting collection of short stories. They range from all sorts of important publications in both Canada and the United States. It is a mixed bag, as all anthologies are, but I feel there is a type of story (or multiples) for all readers who enjoy this form of fiction. I found myself so pleased with many of the fine short stories that stood out to be as landmarks of contemporary literature. It was well worth the read.

4.5 stars. ( )
  DanielSTJ | Jul 23, 2019 |
Eleven years ago I met and fell in love with my partner. We were well-matched in almost every way. Except one. She loved short stories. I did not. In the decade since, I made occasional attempts to read and enjoy short story collections with limited success.

I picked up BASS 2005 on the clearance rack at Half Price Books. I thought I might enjoy it because it was edited by an author I enjoy, Michael Chabon. I did like the first story ‘The Smile on Happy Chang’s Face’ by Tom Perrotta which is a slyly humorous and sad look at the life of a suburban Little League umpire. I’ve never read Perrotta, but I will now. I also liked the second story Dennis Lehane’s ‘Until Gwen’ a bitter and very dark exploration of a couple of days in the life of a pair of father and son grifters.

I was so pleased with my reaction. Chabon wasn’t letting me down and the short story was finally going to be a pleasant genre to explore. I hated the rest of the stories in the book. I’m almost certain it’s me and that the stories aren’t a depressing litany of “Life Sucks”. I think if I was a savoring rather than gulping type, I might have found more that I enjoyed as much as the first couple. I might not mind the constant shifting of narrator and tone inherent in a collection of short stories. In other words, it’s not the quality of these stories, it’s me. I can tell that they are well written, I just find the whole thing depressing. .

After 10 years of trying, I think it is time to admit defeat. Jane and I will never agree about short stories. Or as one in the genre would have it, she and I will now sink into a morass of disappointment and internal grief while maintaining an outward appearance of happiness without ever discussing the nagging doubt that permeates our life together. ( )
  nancyewhite | Nov 18, 2007 |
How did it take me this long to decide to read an edition of BASS? I chose the 2005 collection completely at random, triggering a case of serendipity the likes of which I have never seen before. Just think: I could have gone the rest of my life never having read anything by Kelly Link, Tom Perotta, or Tim Pratt! This sampling is a great way to get to know new writers. Favorite stories from BASS 2005 include "Stone Animals," "The Smile on Happy Chang's Face," "Anda's Game," "Death Defier," "Hart and Boot," and "Until Gwen." ( )
  rosencrantz79 | Dec 13, 2006 |
Usual yearly collection of good stories from lit mags over the last year. Chabon's editorial perspective is more prevalent than with other editors--there's a decided flavor of kids' tales, SF, and sports stories. They're good, so it's fine by me. ( )
  slipstitch | Sep 24, 2006 |
Ultimately, a disappointing collection. It comes from two of the biggest brand names in publishing -- Chabon and the "Best American" dynasty. Nonetheless, Chabon's assertion that these twenty stories "pleased [him] best" is either disingenuous or a very poor reflection on his hedonic faculty. Six of these stories come from the preceding year's New Yorker, making the anthology a raw deal for anyone who is a devoted reader of that publication. Any idiot could have cherry-picked those stories, without the bother of reading the 114 lesser lights which were nominally under consideration. (The series editor has kindly selected 100 of these for an appendix of also-rans.) As for the remaining fourteen, perhaps the most pleasant is David Bezmozgis's "Natasha." Cory Doctorow's "Anda," a weak effort at bringing cyberpunk into the mainstream, does not belong in this collection at all, but might be included in that sure-to-appear anthology, Best Slashdot Writing of 2005. ( )
  jkcohen | Mar 5, 2006 |
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Chabon, MichaelEditorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kenison, KatrinaSeries Editormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Bellows, NathanielContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bezmozgis, DavidContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bissell, TomContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
D'Ambrosio, CharlesContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Doctorow, CoryContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Jones, Edward P.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lehane, DennisContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lennon, J. RobertContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Link, KellyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
McGuane, ThomasContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Means, DavidContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Munro, AliceContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Oates, Joyce CarolContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ohlin, AlixContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Perrotta, TomContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Pratt, TimContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Reddi, RishiContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Saunders, GeorgeContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Schwartz, Lynne SharonContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Williams, JoyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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"In "Until Gwen," Dennis Lehane offers a narrative experiment and a haunting picture of a father and son. Tom Perrotta's "The Smile on Happy Chang's Face" explores a Little League umpire's attempt to cope with his biggest personal regret and the inability to make a decisive call on the field. Thomas McGuane's "Old Friends" examines the intersection of shared history and obligation, while Joyce Carol Oates meditates on the inescapable bonds of family in "Cousins." In "Stone Animals," Kelly Link takes a chilling look at a family spiraling beyond control in the surreal landscape of their new home. By turns humorous, poignant, and profound, the stories of 2005 add up to an eclectic installment of this anthology."--Jacket.

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Book description
Anthology contains:
  • Introduction / Michael Chabon
  • The Smile on Happy Chang's Face / Tom Perrotta
  • Until Gwen / Dennis Lehane
  • A Taste of Dust / Lynne Sharon Schwartz
  • Old Friends / Thomas McGuane
  • Eight Pieces for the Left Hand / J. Robert Lennon
  • Stone Animals / Kelly Link
  • First Four Measures / Nathaniel Bellows
  • The Scheme of Things / Charles D'Ambrosio
  • Silence / Alice Munro
  • Death Defier / Tom Bissell
  • The Girls / Joy Williams
  • Anda's Game / Cory Doctorow
  • Simple Exercises for the Beginning Student / Alix Ohlin
  • Old Boys, Old Girls / Edward P. Jones
  • The Secret Goldfish / David Means
  • The Cousins / Joyce Carol Oates
  • Natasha / David Bezmozgis
  • Hart and Boot / Tim Pratt
  • Justice Shiva Ram Murthy / Rishi Reddi
  • Bohemians / George Saunders
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