Best American Short Stories: Part Two

In my first post on the Best American Short Story series, I outlined my plan to read the last thirty editions. I’m reading the books for craft, the nuts-and-bolts of (short) storytelling, and to read some damn-good fiction. As I mentioned in my previous post, many of the magazines that submitted to the series are now defunct (Antaeus, Four Quarters, Kansas Quarterly, Ontario Review, TriQuarterly) for various reasons. Others, mostly university-based journals, have simply changed their names over the years. It’s interesting for me also to read writers I’d previously never discovered: Kent Nelson, Tess Gallagher, Jessica Neely. I will be checking out their collections in the years to come.

The Best American Short Stories 1986

Standout stories: Charles Baxter’s “Gryphon,” Ann Beattie’s “Janus,” Ethan Canin’s “Star Food,” and Mona Simpson’s “Lawns.”

This really was a stellar year for short fiction, or perhaps the selections were more to my tastes. It’s no surprise, I suppose, the guest editor of that year was Raymond Carver — one of my major influences.

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