New American Short Stories: Second Edition

Gloria Norris, Editor Plume Books $9.95 (38p) ISBN 978-0-452-26217-1
O. Henry Prize-winner Norris once again attaches a tempting hook to her short-fiction anthology: 20 established writers have chosen their own favorites. The majority acquit themselves handsomely, with judicious offerings as well as commentary on their craft, although most entries, having recently appeared in other collections and/or the New Yorker , the Atlantic et al., will be known to many. Mark Helprin's sublime love story features a husband and wife attempting to transcend the vagaries of WW II and the boundaries that separate the battlefront and the home front. In a full-bodied, penetrating piece, Mary Gordon's protagonist is ashamed of his housekeeper mother and ``crazy in love'' with his mother's boss and the boss's daughter. A savory fish tale by Bob Shacochis foists an outsider with an evil secret onto a close-knit, rural Southern community. Weaker selections also appear: Judith Rossner, prolific as a novelist but not in the short-fiction genre, contributes a trite, self-indulgent depiction of a daughter unwilling to share her widower father; Isabel Huggan over-relies on knitting as a metaphor; and Frederick Barthelme's husband/father, a sour malcontent, alienates the reader. (May)
Reviewed on: 04/30/1989
Release date: 05/01/1989
Paperback - 372 pages - 978-0-452-25879-2
Hardcover - 372 pages - 978-0-453-00518-0
Hardcover - 375 pages - 978-0-453-00656-9
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