Review by Booklist Review
In the latest volume in the Best New American Voices series, guest editor Bausch assembles a shining medley of stories by participants in writing programs across the country. Like a snapshot, each work illustrates a significant relationship and shows the importance of the ties that bind people to one another. In Tucker Capps' tale, a cancer-ridden man tries to come to grips with his distant daughter's attraction to women and abandonment of her mother during a long illness. Dan Pinkerton writes about a cuckolded husband who becomes strangely obsessed with a love affair between two of his high-school students. Sharon May depicts the desperate need for Cambodian refugee families hoping to emigrate to the U.S. to connect with immigration officials. Whether exploring illicit love in New York City during the 1918 flu epidemic or depicting a daughter's tense visit with her mother in war-torn Sri Lanka, the stories are distinct and compelling. If these authors are a harbinger of what is to come in American fiction, the future is indeed bright.--Boyle, Katherine Copyright 2007 Booklist
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
Each year the nation?s most driven would-be writers seek out the structure and support of the many creative writing MFA programs and-as this volume proves-produce inspired work under their auspices. Now in its eighth year, this series showcases stories nominated by workshop directors and instructors and selected, in this case, by guest editor Bausch (Thanksgiving Night). A number of the writers featured in this edition breathe new life into familiar themes-the University of Iowa?s Leslie Jamison takes on heartbreak, Stanford?s Suzanne Rivecca examines sexual abuse, University of Massachusetts, Amherst?s Jedediah Berry looks at death, Elizabeth Kadetsky represents the Wesleyan Writers Conference with a tale of innocence lost, and Adam Stumacher of the Wisconsin Institute takes on political strife-but just as many craft deftly original stories that defy easy categorization; one standout example is a playful story from the University of Mississippi?s Christopher Stokes, "The Man Who Ate Michael Rockefellar," set in colonial Indonesia and narrated by a shrewd native. In his introduction, guest editor Bausch says that literature?s ongoing quest is "to make something lasting out of the confusions of living"; these imaginative debut artists offer happy proof that the challenge is still being met. (Oct.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
Review by Kirkus Book Review
A lively range of "startlingly original voices, and vivid, sophisticated sensibilities" is displayed in the latest installment of this always welcome annual. As this year's editor, short-story writer Bausch explains, the nation's writing workshops continue to provide crucibles for impressively varied developing talents. Evidence abounds in the volume's first two stories: a richly imagined realistic narrative in which a morose widower's tense relationship with his adult daughter is complicated, and paradoxically enriched, by the death of their family's beloved pet dog (Tucker Capps's "Alice"); and a mordant, gripping fantasy (Jedediah Berry's "Inheritance") about a suburban husband obliged to deal with his macho father's "legacy": a hirsute "beast" discovered in his cellar, which excites his neighbors' fears and his wife's protective fascination. The other 15 stories trace a widening arc, from chronicles of adolescent and young-adult longing and bafflement (Jordan McMullin's "Mouse"; Oriane Gabrielle Delfosse's "Men and Boys"; Stefan McKinstray's "No One Here Says What They Mean"), to compact bildüngsromans set in such distant locales as Bangladesh (Razia Sultana Khan's ironic "Alms"), Cambodia (Sharon May's "The Wizard of Kao-I-Dang") and Israel's West Bank (Adam Stumacher's marvelous "The Neon Desert"). Though several stories feel formulaic or strained (notably, Christopher Stokes's very odd "The Man Who Ate Michael Rockefeller"), several others are standouts. In "Headlock," Dan Pinkerton deftly dramatizes a suburban crisis involving a depressed industrial-arts teacher, his straying wife and the teenaged hunk who challenges the cuckolded spouse to change his life. Peter Mountford offers a wry variation on W. Somerset Maugham's exotica in a rich study of generational and cultural conflict ("Horizon") set in Sri Lanka. In "Surfacing," Lauren Groff depicts with firm economy the strange lifelong relationship of a rich girl crippled during the 1918 influenza epidemic and the former Olympic athlete who saves, and forever alters, her life. A mixed bag, but the choicest morsels are well worth digging for. Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.