Best English Short Stories, 1989

Giles Gordon, Editor, David Hughes, Editor W. W. Norton & Company $18.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-393-02720-4
already edited; held from previous week This fourth annual selection of ``stories in English by writers not American'' is a mixed bag in terms of quality, but not varied enough in country of origin. The British are overrepresented; we do find an occasional Aussie or New Zealander, but nary a Canadian or South African is among the 22 authors here. The more memorable entries include Peter Carey's ``A Letter to Our Son,'' an emotionally resonant account of a father's joy at his son's birth tinged with his fear for the mother's life; Lucy Ellman's funny, inventive existential anecdote, ``A Day in the Life of a Sphere''; Angela Carter's `` 'Tis Pity She's a Whore,'' a witty homage to both John Ford the filmmaker and John Ford the Jacobean playwright; and Jonathan Treitel's ``A Merican,'' a meditation on Nagasaki from the point of view of an Americanized Japanese woman in present-day California. Fay Weldon's tale about a graduate student's affair with her professor is engaging, if slight; those by Edna O'Brien and William Trevor suffer from chronic blandness. Still, there are newcomers to watch: Patrick Rogers, Adam Mars-Jones and Adrian Dannat have distinctive voices. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 11/01/1989
Release date: 11/01/1989
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