The Best of the West 4: New Stories from the Wide Side of the Missouri

James Thomas, Editor, Denise Thomas, Editor, Ron Hansen, Introduction by W. W. Norton & Company $22.95 (264p) ISBN 978-0-393-03018-1
This eclectic anthology--the fourth in the editor's annual series--features 15 short stories as varied as the region stretching west of the Missouri. The characters peopling its pages range from Depression-era cattle rustlers and a Texas drug-runner to a Phoenix salesman who drives all through the desert without once setting foot outside his car. Some of these entries evoke a place as rugged and unforgiving as John Ford's west. Others recast the myth of the west; the Los Angeleno in Dagoberto Gilb's ``Ballad'' has become a construction worker because ``he thought it wasn't much different than what cattlemen and trailer drivers, wildcatters and roughnecks did in the earlier days.'' Colorado's mountains serve simply as a backdrop for Antonya Nelson's wrenching ``Mud Season,'' in which a couple visits the site of a daughter's fatal motocycle accident. Uneven as the collection is, all of the works were culled from respected literary magazines. That several of the most satisfying could just as easily be set in Maine as in Montana suggests that the ``western'' theme is rather arbitrary. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/30/1991
Release date: 10/01/1991
Paperback - 266 pages - 978-0-393-30793-1
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