Sunday, September 18, 2011

Just Shelved

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is one of the better Best American collections I've read. There weren't any stories I disliked, though as usual, some were far more memorable than others. Here are the gold star stories:

E.L. Doctorow's "A House on the Plains"--So creepy and well-done in its incremental reveal of disturbing information. Pitch perfect voice.

Melissa Hardy's "The Heifer"--Not as striking as some of the others, but great prose and a bit of comedy, too.

Alice Mattison's "In Case We're Separated"--A more traditional relationship story, but very well-done, with a poignant ending.

Jill McCorkle's "Billy Goats"--Worth a read for the communal narration.

Alice Munro's "Family Furnishings"--Of course. And extra intriguing for its glimpse into autobiographical details of this master's life. The finest story of the collection, in my opinion.

The stories by Akhil Sharma, Mary Yukari Waters, and Tom McNeal--all excellent family stories. Quite different from one another, but I enjoyed all three.

Jim Shepard's "Love and Hydrogen"--Sent me straight to Google afterwards to read up on the Hindenburg disaster. Probably my second favorite of the collection. How does he do it?! He enters the past and makes it new, fantastical, and wonderfully human. No small feat when one chooses to write about already word-saturated events.

Also liked Arthur Miller and Leonard Michaels' stories. So, actually, I suppose I'd recommend almost all of the stories.

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