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The Best American Short Stories 2010 (2010)

by Richard Russo(Favorite Author)
3.95 of 5 Votes: 4
0547055285 (ISBN13: 9780547055282)
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
review 1: I thought this was a really, really great edition of Best American Short Stories. I think the highest hit-to-miss ratio of any collection I've read recently. Of special note were the following:- The Cousins: the older I get, the more time I spend thinking about frayed connections. We're always actively growing more distant from our past and leaving friends and relatives behind. I thought this story was a nice reminder of that fact and how hard it is to get back in touch.- Delicate Edible Birds: Loved the shifting perspectives in a WWII story that was gripping and beautifully written. Still on my mind weeks later.- Further Interpretations of Real Life: I read this story several years ago in its original publication in McSweeney's. I liked it even more on second read. The en... moreding was a perfectly played note that just hung in the air for minutes after, resonating.- The Ascent: a heartening and sickening escape into imagination.- The Netherlands Lives With Water: A story so good that I still think about it often even years after the first time I read it. One of my all-time favorite short stories.- The Cowboy Tango: wonderfully drawn characters in an absolute mess. It was a joy to watch them dig themselves in deeper.
review 2: One standout story in this collection is Steve Almond's "Donkey Greedy, Donkey Gets Punched," a tale of modern-day hubris focused through the fashionable lenses of poker and therapy. Another story of our cultural moment comes in "Someone Ought to Tell Her There's Nowhere to Go," in which Danielle Evans processes the war in Iraq and the inevitable damage to its soldiers and their families. I like the voice of that piece a lot--its frantic, cynical bewilderment over how to give our dear ones what they want without understanding at all why they want it. When the main character's daughter wants to see the latest young, hypersexualized singing act, he finds he cannot escape the singer, Mindy, who "was on the side of the bus they took to the zoo. Mindy was on the nightly news, and every other commercial between kids' TV shows. Mindy was on the radio, lisping, 'Pop my bub-ble, pop pop my bub-ble.' What he felt for Mindy was barely short of violence."Lauren Groff takes us back in time to Paris during the Nazi invasion in "Delicate Edible Birds," a heartbreaking story of how love in a time of war is really just one more piece of luggage to haul around, maybe protect or trade away. Rebecca Makkai and James Lasdun turn in some eerie page-turners, but the funniest story has to be "My Last Attempt to Explain to You What Happened with the Lion Tamer," with its priceless first line, "He wasn't even a good lion tamer, not before you showed up."A McSweeney's contribution by Kevin Moffett shows rare emotional depth in its portrayal of a father/son relationship. Ron Rash's "The Ascent" captures another desperate parent/child dynamic with an elegant grace. Two stories, "The Netherlands Lives with Water" and "Raw Water," look forward into the near future in order to explore some dystopian consequences of global warming and genetic engineering, respectively. All the stories repay the reading, though a few stories might be better skimmed. Richard Russo seems to enjoy an eclectic taste. With its diversity of mood, theme, setting, and character, there is sure to be at least one stand-out story in this collection for every reader. less
Reviews (see all)
I look forward to this collection every year and 2010's stories were good across the board.
Steve Almond's story = five stars.
Not as many gems as other years.
An especially good year.
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