The Best American Short Stories 1987

Ann Beattie, Editor, Shannon Ravenel, Editor Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) $16.95 (352p) ISBN 978-0-395-41341-8
These 20 transcending stories sparkle like so many odd, polished jewels, but the collection demonstrates, perhaps, less inspiration in its overall selection: a good portion of the pieces have been previously anthologized, bear distinguished signatures and originally appeared in the New Yorker, the Atlantic and Esquire magazines. Two contemporary works speak of the '80s: in Susan Sontag's ""The Way We Live Now,'' friends watch a loved one die of AIDS (the disease isn't named but the inference is obvious); pictures of missing children on milk cartons disturb the young father who narrates Ron Carlson's ``Milk.'' As short-story writer and guest editor Beattie aptly comments, the stories ``present strong revelations about ordinary, private matters.'' Relationships are scrutinized in several tales including Tobias Wolff's ``The Other Miller,'' in which a youth joins the army to ``punish'' his mother for remarrying. Charles Baxter unites siblings who have never met in ``How I Found My Brother''; they find nothing in common but their love for each other. In Craig Nova's modern fairy tale ``The Prince,'' there is no happy ending for the grieving, alienated man who loses his family and his considerable fortune. Immersed in a swimming pool, a handyman experiences an epiphany about the meaning of freind ship in Ralph Lombreglia's ``Men Un der Water,'' which blends the metaphysical with realism. In a new feature, writers discuss the impetus of their stories. (October 20)jane or ann: please try to break this rather long review. you can move it out of pub date order if you wish.
Reviewed on: 09/30/1987
Release date: 10/01/1987
Paperback - 978-0-395-41342-5
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