Skip to content
Paperback The Best American Short Stories 2009 Book

ISBN: 0618792252

ISBN13: 9780618792252

The Best American Short Stories 2009

(Part of the The Best American Short Stories Series and The Best American Short Stories Series)

Select Format

Select Condition ThriftBooks Help Icon


Format: Paperback

Condition: Like New

Save $17.20!
List Price $21.99

3 Available

Book Overview

Edited by critically acclaimed, best-selling author Alice Sebold, the stories in this year's collection serve as a provacative literary antenna for what is going on in the world (Chicago Tribune). The collection boasts great variety from famous to first-timers, sifted from major magazines and little reviews, grand and little worlds (St. Louis Post-Dispatch), ensuring yet another rewarding, eduring edition of the oldest and best-selling Best American...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Best one since 1993

I have been reading these anthologies since 1993. I can count on a few great stories and a bunch that are either ho hum or too bizarre. This year's collection is superb. Every story is a true winner. Moving. Totally new and engrossing. If you were to buy one year of this series, 2009 is the year. Thank you for this collection, Ms. Sebold.

A decent collection of short fiction

"The Best American Short Stories" is, as they proudly like to point out on the cover, "best, first and best selling" collection of short stories published in the US over the preceding year. The second of these claims is of course entirely subjective, but there is no doubt that this series is one of the most respected and widely used anthologies of contemporary American short fiction. These anthologies give a snapshot of current trends in fiction writing, and are, for better or worse, representative of the writing styles and themes in this genre. The upside is that the stories that are collected here are without exception all written extremely well. On the other hand, sometimes the most interesting and original stories tend to be a bit rough on the edges and not too polished. Such stories almost never make it into a collection such as this one. In the recent years these collections tended to be predominantly filled with the "workshop-style" writing. The exception seemed to be last year's collection, The Best American Short Stories 2008. This collection was so far the only one where I felt that every single story was really, really good. I was hoping that maybe the series had permanently turned a new leaf, but based on this year's collection this doesn't seem to be entirely true. By and large, most of the stories in this collection are really good and interesting. This last point should not, unfortunately, be taken for granted any more when the quality of writing is judged these days. Oftentimes utterly mind numbingly boring stories are praised for their supposed literary merits, and several of those had made it into this collection. For some reason, most of the more boring stories happen to be the longer ones as well, which makes their reading quite tortuous. However, there are many good stories in this collection and their reading was quite rewarding. I will probably continue to read these collections in the upcoming years, and just take what I can get from them. At this point I've probably learned my lesson and I won't expect too much beyond impeccably crafted prose.


PERSONALLY, I LIKE SHORT STORIES. They're quick to read and very entertaining. This book contains a good variety of stories

One of the best of the recent vintages

Alice Sebold and Heidi Pitlor are to be commended for assembling an excellent collection of stories from a wide variety of different themes, styles, viewpoints, subjects, tones and genres. Often the guest editor will make a strong imprint on the collection by choosing a particular type of short story. Sebold and Pitlor appear to have taken their job very seriously this year, and have put together a volume worthy of the moniker "Best American Short Stories". There is one story which rises far above the others, due to the writer's craftsmanship: Richard Powers' "Modulation". Powers mixes together a variety of dissimilar characters scattered around the globe and ties them all together with a science fiction storyline that conveys the power and importance of music in the present day. Powers has excellent command of the English language and keen observational skills, and it is hard to imagine how this story could be any better than it is. Other stories that I enjoyed include: -- "The Idiot President", by Daniel Alarcon: No, this is not a diatribe against George Bush. Rather, it is a gripping portrait of the performing arts scene in a second world country, and the struggles that actors and audience members endure for the sake of the performance. The tale-within-the-tale, or more accurately the play-within-the-story, is also engaging and features a nice plot twist and moral at the end. -- "Beyond the Pale", by Joseph Epstein: besides being an interesting character study of the younger immigrant wife of a Yiddish author, it also illustrates how renowned artists often are famous because of the right set of circumstances, especially having the right members of an audience, and how there can be similarly skilled artists whose work fades into obscurity because of a single shortcoming in conveying the artistic work to the audience, not in the artistic work itself. -- "NowTrends", by Karl Taro Greenfield: A lesson in how China's rapid modernization and adaption of capitalism while still within the constraints of an officially communistic or socialistic system has produced dramatic effects on (and much uncertainty about) the lives, morals and behaviors of Chinese citizens. -- "Sagittaruius", by Greg Hrbek: a story about the process a father undergoes while learning to accept and love his less-than-perfect child. While few children will have the defect that the subject of this story does, all parents should be able to relate to the lesson in this story, as no child (or parent) is perfect. It is hard to limit myself to just citing these stories; "Modulation" stands alone as the best story in the book, but once past that one, the other stories (with just two exceptions) were all very good. The only two stories I felt should have been omitted were Namwali Serpell's "Muzungu" and Kevin Moffett's "One Dog Year", both of which I didn't think had coherent or interesting plotlines. 2009 Best American Short Stories is definitely worth reading if you

Departing from the Trend

I could not wait to review this collection of short stories! Since 1999 I have sought out this volume for reading pleasure, and in recent years noted that the selection of established writers all but eliminated work by new talent. Ms. Sebold has reversed the trend and presents us with beautiful samples. Short stories are alive and well as an art form. The assortment here confirm it. I fell in love with the piece by Joseph Epstein. Tipping the balance of a collection toward those who are less well-known is long overdue. It gives hope to anyone who has yet to be published and establishes a standard of excellence new writers can aim to match. Any fan of short stories must get a copy. It's a perfect stocking stuffer for the MFA student in your family as well.
Copyright © 2023 Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Do Not Sell My Personal Information | Cookie Preferences | Accessibility Statement
ThriftBooks® and the ThriftBooks® logo are registered trademarks of Thrift Books Global, LLC
GoDaddy Verified and Secured