Meredith's Challenge 2.0

52 books, one year. Stay tuned for more details.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

#32 Best American Short Stories 2004 edited by Lorrie Moore

I am a s-u-c-k-e-r for these collections. I think that I have all of them from 1994 on. It certainly helps my collection that they are sold at a deep discount at the uni book store.

Given that, being the connoiseur that I am, I was kind of disappointed by this collection. Usually, there are a few really haunting and/or beautiful stories, but not in this one. The collection this year was kind of depressing actually. There was a big focus on stories that took place in rural areas and quite a bit of death and injury, either through natural means or not. Yikes.

A lot of stories just gave a little bit, i.e. were really one-dimensional, but didn't really go anywhere or do anything. One of my favorite things about short stories is how an author can create a whole universe in just a few pages, but I didn't really feel like that was accomplished in most of 2004's stories. Maybe it's the editor's choices that I didn't like. I do like Moore's work though. Her Birds of America is an interesting collection, another uni purchase. Perhaps editing just isn't her line of work, or that we have very different views of what makes a good short story.

None of the stories really jump out to me as ones that I really enjoyed. Even the monkey story was uninteresting. You know that it's bad news when monkeys can't make anything better.


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