Review by Booklist Review
"Best" is, of course, a subjective labeling, but this anthology certainly brims with significance. The estimable Best American Short Stories series has been going on nearly as long the century, and from each year of its existence series editor Kenison and guest editor Updike have culled a monumental assemblage of superior short story writing. And what would a century's end gathering be without Sherwood Anderson, Ernest Hemingway, Katherine Anne Porter, Eudora Welty, John Cheever, Flannery O'Connor, and Raymond Carver? But wonderful writers too much forgotten by today's reader will ignite interest in their work, or so it is hoped; those writers include William Saroyan, Jean Stafford, J. F. Powers, and Martha Gellhorn. An anthology all fiction collections should be blessed with. --Brad Hooper
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
Updike narrowed down his collection of short stories from 55 to 21 to present this rich, warm voicing of some of the best writing of the 20th century. Whenever possible, it seems, Updike has enlisted living writers to read their own works. It's a pleasure to hear Updike soothe his way through his own "Gesturing" and Gish Jen whir her "Birthmates." Others contributor/readers include Thom Jones, Cynthia Ozick, Lorrie Moore and Tim O'Brien. For writers such as Dorothy Parker, Robert Penn Warren and Raymond Carver, Updike has cleverly paired appropriate readers. He lends his own voice to Sherwood Anderson's "The Other Woman," George Plimpton deftly breathes F. Scott Fitzgerald's "Crazy Sunday" and Jill McCorckle's sharp twang lends a wry rhythm to Eudora Welty's "The Hitchhikers." Each story, sometimes snug with a second, fits neatly on one side of a cassette. Brief interludes of music, when the readers introduce themselves, the stories and the places of original publication, thankfully fade away, leaving the listener with crisp, fresh recordings of these excellent tales. Based on the Houghton Mifflin paperback. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Library Journal Review
The only author to be included in Best American Short Stories in every decade since the 1950s, John Updike was chosen to select those stories best representing the American century since the series inception in 1915. Being limited to those originally chosen for the annual volumes, Updike admits that past editors may have overlooked some gems. But he makes a valiant effort to include all the masters of the form, from Faulkner, Hemingway, and Fitzgerald, through Cheever, OConnor, and Malamud, to Carver and Munro. Though one might question whether an individual choice is really one of the best of the century, as a whole the collection presents a microcosm of 20th-century American life: the immigrant experience (many of the early stories), the Roaring Twenties (Fitzgerald), World War II (Roth) and the Holocaust (Malamud and Ozick), 1950s suburban values (Cheever) and their rejection by 1960s youth culture (Oates), Vietnam (OBrien), and AIDS (Sontag and Dark). Many of the stories are famous and easily found elsewhere, but there are some rare surprises like a semi-autobiographical piece by Tennessee Williams. Recommended for most public libraries, and for those academic libraries that no longer hold all the annual volumes. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 12/98.]Christine DeZelar-Tiedman, Univ. of Idaho Lib., Moscow (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.