cover image Pushcart Prize: Best of the Small Presses, 1991-1992

Pushcart Prize: Best of the Small Presses, 1991-1992

. Pushcart Press, $28.5 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-916366-71-1

This annual anthology of the best stories, essays and poetry published by small presses continues to illustrate that highly literary standards can survive despite the power wielded by profit-hungry publishing behemoths. Edward Hoagland's introduction commends obscure, struggling artists with literary integrity, and William Kennedy argues in a witty essay, ``Writers and Their Songs,'' that the novel is not dead. The best stories include Joyce Carol Oates's unnerving ``The Hair,'' about two couples who fall in love with each other, and Helen Norris's beautifully descriptive ``Raisin Faces,'' about a senile woman who mentally inhabits her sunny past. Many protagonists in the grab bag of fiction here are adolescents, often of ethnic heritage, or young women exploited by dominant men. In Janet Peery's ``Nosotros,'' a Mexican girl is seduced by the Anglo son of her mother's employer. A 19-year-old black woman remains brave amid ghetto crime in Susan Straight's disquieting ``The Box.'' Particularly moving is Renee Manfredi's ``Bocci,'' in which a devout 10-year-old is raped by a man from her Italian community. (Oct.)