A selection of the best and most representative contemporary American short fiction from 1970 to 2020, including such authors as Ursula K. LeGuin, Toni Cade Bambara, Jhumpa Lahiri, Sandra Cisneros, and Ted Chiang, hand-selected by editor and anthologist John Freeman.
There are several flash or micro-fiction pieces, given their due as part of a modern tradition of short-form storytelling ... And it’s not just flash and other short forms. It’s the influence of women and of feminist theory, the political stories that used to be deemed unseemly ... So much may also depend on understanding what this book gets and reflects: we’ve been through heaven and hell in single lifetimes. The last 50, 60 years have seen change happen at humanity-defying speeds, while some of the basic things we started out wanting to change remain, entrenched, and stubbornly so. But what if the thing to do is to forge forward? To read this important book cover to cover, referring back to it over time, remembering what we’ve lived and how it touched us in story, that we may be inspired to keep the good already within us, while remembering the bad and its lessons, so we never allow it to happen again.
Freeman’s excellent introduction to this new anthology of modern short stories will be useful to readers who are unfamiliar with the format; for students of the short story, it’s a refreshing overview ... He sets out to cull stories that demonstrate tumult, expansion, sexual freedom, suburbanization, growth, and wealth; he’s also tracking the high points of the development of the short story ... This anthology sets itself apart by providing an inclusive starting point for readers interested in discovering the power of the short story; it is golden for those who already recognize that power.
A well-selected anthology of short fiction, ranging from long to flash, representing the last half-century ... A fresh gathering that highlights the work of mostly well-known story writers through their lesser-known works.