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The Best American Short Stories 2008

by Salman Rushdie (Editor), Heidi Pitlor (Series editor)

Other authors: T.C. Boyle (Contributor), Kevin Brockmeier (Contributor), Karen Brown (Contributor), Katie Chase (Contributor), Danielle Evans (Contributor)15 more, Allegra Goodman (Contributor), A.M. Homes (Contributor), Nicole Krauss (Contributor), Jonathan Lethem (Contributor), Rebecca Makkai (Contributor), Steven Millhauser (Contributor), Daniyal Mueenuddin (Contributor), Alice Munro (Contributor), Miroslav Penkov (Contributor), Karen Russell (Contributor), George Saunders (Contributor), Christine Sneed (Contributor), Bradford Tice (Contributor), Mark Wisniewski (Contributor), Tobias Wolff (Contributor)

Series: The Best American Short Stories (2008), Best American (2008)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
534736,987 (3.56)19
The Best American Short Stories 2008 gathers an array of inventive and unforgettable stories. Favorite and newcomer writers explore contemporary topics such as cloning, literary envy, cults, and teenage sex, as well as timeless subjects: love, sibling rivalry, immigration, and religion. In Kevin Brockmeier’s stunning "The Year of Silence,” an unnamed city must face the absence of all sound, followed by an excess of noise. Katie Chase’s bold and unsettling story, "Man and Wife,” her first one published, brings to life an arranged marriage between a nine-year-old and a grown man. In A. M. Homes’s "May We Be Forgiven,” two brothers’ rivalry undoes their marriages and eventually their lives. Nicole Krauss writes of an inherited desk that comes to represent the burden of memory for a poet in her beautiful story, "From the Desk of Daniel Varsky.” And Stephen Millhauser’s ingenious "The Wizard of West Orange” imagines Edison and his colleagues inventing machines dedicated to the sense of touch. In his introduction, Salman Rushdie writes, "Some of these stories are immense, the so-called 'grand narratives’ of nation, race, and faith, and others are small: family stories, and stories of elective affinities, of the friends we choose, the places we know, and the people we love; but we all live in and with and by stories, every day, whoever and wherever we are.” The cultural relevance and intellectual potential of the short story are on display in this year’s volume of the best-selling collection.… (more)
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» See also 19 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
I read 11 of the 20 stories, part of the annual, well-vetted collection of the year's best. Salmon Rushdie was esteemed editor on this one, and he and series editor Pitlor did fine, in my view. If forced to pick a favorite, Alice Munro's "Child's Play", a story about the lifetime shadow of a single act of cruelty - and tragedy - in childhood, gets the nod. Other engaging stories were "Quality of Life" by Christine Sneed, "Vampires in the Lemon Grove" by Karen Russell (a story which later headlined a Russell collection), and "Straightaway" by Mark Wisniewski. ( )
  ThoughtPolice | Aug 28, 2016 |
So nice to see Rushdie include so many excellent stories by relative unknowns. I was most impressed by Katie Chase, Christine Sneed and Danielle Evans. TC Boyle, Steven Millhauser and Alice Munro also acquitted themselves nicely (of course).

And the few stories I thought were duds seem to be consistent favorites in the reviews here, so clearly the editors did a good job of including a variety for all tastes. Nice job. ( )
  patronus11 | Mar 31, 2013 |
One of the best collections they've had, if not my absolute favorite of the series. ( )
  librarybrandy | Mar 31, 2013 |
Vergy good selection of stories. It spans from a vampire story to a a cold blooded murder of a special needs child. ( )
  YogiABB | Dec 9, 2008 |
Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Rushdie, SalmanEditorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Pitlor, HeidiSeries editormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Boyle, T.C.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Brockmeier, KevinContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Brown, KarenContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Chase, KatieContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Evans, DanielleContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Goodman, AllegraContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Homes, A.M.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Krauss, NicoleContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lethem, JonathanContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Makkai, RebeccaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Millhauser, StevenContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Mueenuddin, DaniyalContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Munro, AliceContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Penkov, MiroslavContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Russell, KarenContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Saunders, GeorgeContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Sneed, ChristineContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Tice, BradfordContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Wisniewski, MarkContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Wolff, TobiasContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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The Best American Short Stories 2008 gathers an array of inventive and unforgettable stories. Favorite and newcomer writers explore contemporary topics such as cloning, literary envy, cults, and teenage sex, as well as timeless subjects: love, sibling rivalry, immigration, and religion. In Kevin Brockmeier’s stunning "The Year of Silence,” an unnamed city must face the absence of all sound, followed by an excess of noise. Katie Chase’s bold and unsettling story, "Man and Wife,” her first one published, brings to life an arranged marriage between a nine-year-old and a grown man. In A. M. Homes’s "May We Be Forgiven,” two brothers’ rivalry undoes their marriages and eventually their lives. Nicole Krauss writes of an inherited desk that comes to represent the burden of memory for a poet in her beautiful story, "From the Desk of Daniel Varsky.” And Stephen Millhauser’s ingenious "The Wizard of West Orange” imagines Edison and his colleagues inventing machines dedicated to the sense of touch. In his introduction, Salman Rushdie writes, "Some of these stories are immense, the so-called 'grand narratives’ of nation, race, and faith, and others are small: family stories, and stories of elective affinities, of the friends we choose, the places we know, and the people we love; but we all live in and with and by stories, every day, whoever and wherever we are.” The cultural relevance and intellectual potential of the short story are on display in this year’s volume of the best-selling collection.

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