The Best American Short Stories 1991 the Best American Short Stories 1991

Alice Adams, Editor, Katrina Kenison, Editor Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) $9.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-395-54409-9
The first sentence of the first story in this collection--``We used to go to bars, the really seedy ones, to find our fights''--lures the reader with its promise of a strange and unfamiliar world. The selection, by Rick Bass, does not disappoint, taking us on a tour of ``backwoods nightspots'' where an aspiring fighter trains for a career in the big city. Story after story--there are 20 in all--matches Bass's opening gambit, with a dazzling mix of telling details and poignant character portraits. There are Charles D'Ambrosio Jr.'s 13-year-old protagonist who must escort his mother's drunken friend to her home; the woman in Siri Hustvedt's tale who enters a hospital because of a months-old migraine and whose neighbor, an old woman, one day climbs in bed with her and begins kissing her passionately; the sullen teenager, created by David Jauss, whose father is fired for embezzling, then hospitalized for a nervous breakdown. Ashamed, the son blurts out to a friend that his father died of a brain tumor; years later, a father himself, the son reflects, ``I had always loved my father, though behind his back, without letting him know it. And in a way, behind my back, too.'' Adams wrote Second Chances. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 09/30/1991
Release date: 10/01/1991
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