Prize Stories 1994: The O. Henry Awards

William Abrahams, Editor Anchor Books $19 (382p) ISBN 978-0-385-47118-3
The best of these tales capture a particular era--usually modern--with emphasis on its sexual mores. In Alison Baker's first prize-winning ``Better Be Ready 'Bout Half Past Eight,'' a scientist/poet agonizes over choosing a gift for a shower celebrating his co-worker's preparation for a sex-change operation. When a friend's baby accidentally dies in her arms, the protagonist of Lorrie Moore's ``Terrific Mother'' can't shake the aftereffects even during a peculiar honeymoon at an Italian villa where academics gather. The narrator of Stuart Dybek's ``We Didn't'' recalls an early, unconsummated relationship, including the night on the beach when he and his girlfriend almost did it but were interrupted by police officers pulling the dead body of a young woman from the water. In ``Not the Phil Donahue Show'' by Kelly Cherry, a nurse caring for an ailing AIDS patient learns to accept that her 20-year-old daughter is a lesbian, while the eponymous heroine of Janice Eidus's ``Pandora's Box'' suddenly recalls after her father's funeral that he had sexually abused her as a child. The surprises in this well-chosen collection are small, domestic ones that sink in gradually. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 02/28/1994
Release date: 03/01/1994
Prebound-Sewn - 978-1-4177-1086-7
Hardcover - 382 pages - 978-0-385-47117-6
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