The American Story: The Best of Storyquarterly

Anne Brashler, Other Cane Hill Press $8.95 (278p) ISBN 978-0-943433-05-9
This disappointing collection gathers 17 short stories, chosen by the editors of StoryQuarterly as the ``best'' the magazine has published in its 15-year tenure. Several tales consist of first-person childhood recollections, which come across as deeply felt, yet self-indulgent anecdotes. ``Ball and Socket'' by Yannick Murphy, a daughter's broken narrative of her father's subtly sexual abuse, uses a childlike voice to little effect. Gordon Lish's pretentious ``Knowledge'' is a page and a half of Mommy-talk: ``You want me to kiss it and make it well? . . . You are making something out of nothing.'' ``My Father's Roses'' by Glyn Hughes, about a working-class British socialist and his unhappy wife, exhibits a more successful use of language, with some beautiful passages: ``The roses were a little way past full blossoming, and petals, winged, flesh-soft, sensual, butterflied over neighbouring gardens. . . .'' The best of this ``best'' is, not surprisingly, Ann Beattie's ``Late Summer: Driving North,'' a predictable but satisfying tale of academia, adultery and pita bread in the late '70s. The collection also presents informative yet uninspiring interviews with several writers, including Grace Paley, Richard Stern and John Cheever. (July)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1990
Release date: 01/01/1990
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