The Best American Series®
First, Best, and Best-Selling
The Best American series is the premier annual showcase for the country’s finest short fiction and nonfiction. Each volume’s series editor selects notable works from hundreds of magazines, journals, and websites. A special guest editor, a leading writer in the field, then chooses the best twenty or so pieces to publish. This unique system has made the Best American series the most respected — and most popular — of its kind.
The Best American Short Stories 2011 includes
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Megan Mayhew Bergman, Jennifer Egan,
Nathan Englander, Allegra Goodman,
Ehud Havazelet, Rebecca Makkai, Steven Millhauser,
George Saunders, Mark Slouka, and others
Review«In this anthology series celebrating American short fiction annually since 1915, each year a different renowned writer chooses the best 20 stories of that year…Brooks does the honors impressively.«
«Though many of the names here are familiar, this powerful new work re-establishes these authors' command of the form.»
--Publishers Weekly «Another stellar selection from an anthology that has sustained high standards for 35 years..Each one of these stories could establish itself as some reader’s favorite.»
From the Inside FlapIn her introduction to The Best American Short Stories 2011, Geraldine Brooks draws the comparison between a well-told joke and a good short story. She writes, “Each form relies on suggestion and economy. Characters have to be drawn in a few deft strokes. There’s generally a setup, a reveal, a reversal, and a release … In the joke and in the short story, the beginning and end are precisely anchored tent poles, and what lies between must pull so taut it twangs.”
The twenty tightly crafted stories collected here are full of deftly drawn characters, universal truths, and often, like good jokes, surprising humor. Richard Powers’s “To the Measures Fall” is a comic meditation on the uses of literature in the course of a life. In the satirical “The Sleep,” Caitlin Horrocks puts her fictional prairie town to bed—the inhabitants hibernate through the long winter as a form of escape—while in Steve Millhauser’s imagined town the citizens are visited by ghostlike apparitions in “The Phantoms.” Allegra Goodman’s spare but beautiful “La Vita Nuova” finds a jilted fiancée letting her art class paint all over her wedding dress as a poignant act of release. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie wryly captures the social change in the air in Lagos, Nigeria, in her story of a wealthy young man who is not entirely at ease with what his life has become.
As Brooks pursued these richly imagined and varied landscapes she found that “it was like walking into the best kind of party, where you can hole up in a corner with old friends for a while, then launch out among interesting strangers.”