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The O. Henry Prize Stories 2013

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3.88  ·  Rating Details ·  255 Ratings  ·  37 Reviews
The O. Henry Prize Stories 2013 gathers twenty of the best short stories of the year, selected from thousands published in literary magazines. The winning stories take place in such far-flung locales as a gorgeous sailboat in Hong Kong, a Cuban sugar plantation, the Kenai River in Alaska, a mansion in New Delhi, a ship torpedoed by a German U-boat, and the ghost-haunted ru ...more
Paperback, 475 pages
Published September 10th 2013 by Anchor Books (first published January 1st 2013)
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Joseph Lerner
Sep 29, 2013 Joseph Lerner rated it really liked it
Interesting how the quality of this annual anthology varies from year to year. Somehow I think it shouldn't. Of the thousands of short stories published annually, the best 20 or so, whoever are the judges, should meet a pretty damn high standard of excellence. This year (2013) the O. Henry Prize Stories are especially good. For one thing, two of the three judges (Edith Pearlman and Jim Shepard) are among my favorite contemporary short story writers (top five?). For another, it's great fun to ...more
Pat Pujolas
Nov 08, 2013 Pat Pujolas rated it liked it
Another fine collection here. Standouts include: Kelly Link's "The Summer People" (a masterful blend of magic and realism), Jamie Quatro's "Sinkhole" (a brilliant introduction to the term sexorcism), and Ayse Papatya Bucak's "The History of Girls" (a short story about girls who are dead or dying in the aftermath of an explosion). Otherwise, Munro writes a Munro story, and everybody else seems to be stuck 30 years in the past.
Iva
Oct 26, 2013 Iva rated it really liked it
Absolutely great selection of short (and some like Andrea Barrett's novella length) stories. Many of the writers were quite familiar,like Ruth Prawer Jhabvala and Alice Munro; others were new and unknown to me. I particularly liked the judges observations as well as the author's comments on inspiration and background of their stories.
Cathy
Jan 12, 2015 Cathy rated it liked it
A varied collection that took me forever to read because I skipped around, liking some and not others, then setting it down again. By far my favorite in this collection is "The Summer People" by Kelly Link, which is a story at the intersection of two genres, young adult and steampunk. It's about a girl charged with taking care of fairy tenants, who is conflicted by duty and a desire to escape.
Christopher tm
Jan 20, 2014 Christopher tm rated it really liked it
A necessarily diverse collection of short (and not-so-short) stories, all exquisitely crafted. Some resonate; a few do not - early-on there is a preponderance of tales of well-off Manhattanites drowning in ennui. It is, of course, hard to give a damn about them, but the anthology does even-out as it progresses, and includes several stories with genuinely sympathetic characters.
John Ollerton
Nov 18, 2016 John Ollerton rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this compilation. This was my first venture into the O Henry prize short stories. The winning short stories are picked from literary magazines in Canada and the U.S. By picked judges blind reading. I think my favourite was the Summer People being one of the first "magic realism" stories I've really enjoyed.
If you like short stories I really recommend dipping into one of the annual O Henry books.
Paul Cockeram
Apr 28, 2014 Paul Cockeram rated it really liked it
This is my first time finishing an O. Henry collection, and I noticed some significant differences between the stories in here and those regularly published in another prize anthology, The Best American Fiction. The biggest difference is length. The first four stories in this collection total 105 pages. Add the length of the final story and you have 152 pages. (By contrast, the five stories in the same positions in the 2013 Best American collection total 88 pages.) So O. Henry’s Laura Furman has ...more
Cici
Aug 12, 2016 Cici rated it really liked it
I did not read all of the stories, excluding some due to subject matters or other personal reasons. For the rest, I found this year's collection of excellent quality and quite a few surprises. It gives me more exposure to authors I did not know before. Here are some of my story notes:

Your duck is my duck. Eisenberg.

A taut and unsentimental view of the ruins of rich meaningless, either in the lives of Ray and Christa, the rich hosts, their attendants, or the natural world corrupted by such heart
...more
Elijah
Mar 14, 2015 Elijah rated it liked it
This book and I did not get along. I'd really like to give it a 2-2.5, but in order to keep myself honest I gave each story a rating as I finished it, and the average was closer to 3.

I am coming to realize that I just don't enjoy mainstream fiction 95% of the time, particularly contemporary mainstream fiction with no hints of the fantastic whatsoever.

Most of the stories in this collection were not, in my opinion, worthy of a prize, much less one names after O. Henry. A few stood out as better, o
...more
Tracy
Oct 24, 2013 Tracy rated it really liked it
It's always really difficult to rate a collection. There are stories that I really love and others that are not quite my cup of tea. This collection has a number of really good pieces that I enjoyed reading. By far, my favorite is Ayse Papatya Bucak's "The History of Girls." Every line is powerful. The images...wow!! The subject matter is painful but she handles it with such fierce imagery and care. The entire time reading the piece, I knew I was in expert hands. I look forward to reading more ...more
Benjamin Obler
Dec 26, 2014 Benjamin Obler rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
Got this for Christmas. More eclectic than the typical Best American annual. Not all of the stories manage to hold my interest. A nice mix of a few familiar names--Eisenberg, Beattie, Antrim--and fresh ones. Halfway through, and Eisenberg's is my favorite. One of the best features of an anthology like this, for a writer, is the index of Publications Submitted at the back, which provides an up-to-date snapshot of journals publishing top stories. To my surprise, several are not listed in ...more
Ms. Reader
Sep 18, 2014 Ms. Reader rated it liked it
I received this book from Goodread Givaways. It contains a very fine collection of short stories selected by judges that have a very talented eye for talented writing. Several of them I found interesting, amusing, and/or entertaining to read. Other's were boring, bland, and easily forgotten. I was actually a little disappointed by the handful of short stories that didn't catch my attention or liking, considering the amount of talent that should be on these pages. I'm not necessarily a picky ...more
Carly
Mar 09, 2014 Carly rated it really liked it
It's hard to rate an anthology. Some of the stories are really good -- I'm going to reread them before I return this to the library. Others, I lost interest and couldn't finish. Favorites so far: The Particles, Sugarcane, The Summer People, and, if not the whole story, the description of the puppet opera involving South Pole explorers, dog teams, and penguins (all with vocal parts) in Your Duck Is My Duck.
Lindsay
Oct 17, 2013 Lindsay rated it it was amazing
This was the first O. Henry collection I've read. Although I have heard mixed feelings about the O.Henry collections in the past, I think this one is great. Each piece is diverse and masterful, and I loved reading the notes by the authors at the end of the book. The 3 judges essays about their chosen favorites are energetic and wonderful. I can easily see any of these stories being heavily anthologized in the future. Highly recommended for an anthology of contemporary fiction.
Caroline
Dec 22, 2015 Caroline rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-stories
Like all other short story collections, some of the stories in this were hit-and-miss like "Sinkhole", "The Particles" and "Your Duck Is My Duck". I suppose I wasn't the intended audience for them. Others though - most of the collection - I enjoyed immensely. Highlights include "The Summer People" (LOVE!), "Sugarcane" (the writing was sublime), "Sail", "The Visitor", "Aphrodisiac" and "Pérou". Those, I have hearts in my eyes for.
Paul Secor
Mar 11, 2014 Paul Secor rated it liked it
Shelves: short-cuts
About what I expected from an anthology like this one: several stories that I enjoyed - Asako Serizawa, Ann Beattie, Alice Munro, Andrea Barrett - a few that were ok, and a bunch that were forgettable.
Reading an essay by one of the O. Henry jurors, I came across the word/expression, "Eisenberg-y". My first thought was that I had no idea the this expression existed. My next thought was, is there any reason for this expression to exist?, and was at a complete loss to come up with any reason.
Libby
Jul 07, 2014 Libby rated it liked it
I wanted to like this collection more than I did, especially as it was a gift from an old and dear friend, but I frankly found most of the stories tedious and boring. My favorite stories were by Donald Antrim, Alice Munro, and Ruth Prawer Jhabvala (all previously published in The New Yorker).
Alex Toney
Jan 20, 2014 Alex Toney rated it it was amazing
Though this year's collection seems to get off to a slow start, the quality of the selected stories is still mind-boggling. Difficult to overstate the quality of writing. Exciting new voices and wonderful pieces from cherished old hats. If you love reading short stories, have ever thought about reading short stories, or even hate short stories, this is the book for you. Recommend.
Jennifer
Mar 17, 2014 Jennifer rated it liked it
Shelves: 2014
I don't love anthologies and this was one of the only ones I've ever finished. Three stories particularly stood out to me: "The Summer People" by Kelly Link; "Sinkhole" by Jamie Quatro; and "The History of Girls" by Ayse Papatya Bucak. I also enjoyed the notes from the authors on the writing of their stories, something I always wonder about.
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
Nov 30, 2013 Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance rated it really liked it
There is something refreshing about reading a good book of short stories. It is different than reading a book of fiction and different from reading a book of nonfiction. Like eating a tray of delicious and varied horderves. You may not like every single story but with this many to choose from and with this great variety and quality, you will enjoy a lot.
Shanna
Apr 03, 2015 Shanna rated it really liked it
I always enjoy reflecting on the best short stories of the year. In this collection, White Carnations and He Knew shined, while They Find the Drowned, Aphrodisiac and The Visitor left a bit to be desired.
Andrea
Oct 12, 2015 Andrea rated it really liked it
As with all anthologies, even those of prize winners, some are fantastic and some are kind of eh. But most are fantastic. Munro's Leaving Maverly is gorgeous, which is why I used this O.Henry rather than the new one for my Craft of Fiction students.
Meghan
Jan 31, 2015 Meghan rated it liked it
There are some gems in this collection, but also several that I just didn't like. A matter of taste, of course. I love this series regardless.
Megan
Nov 17, 2013 Megan rated it liked it
Shelves: short-stories
Not one of my favorite O. Henry Collections-there were several stories I didn't finish. My favorites were "The Summer People", "Sinkhole" and "Sugarcane".
Dan Vinson
Feb 25, 2014 Dan Vinson rated it really liked it
Loved the Donald Antrim, Ann Beattie, and Deborah Eisenberg stories. I can't wait for Antrim's first story collection this fall!
Alexanne Brown
Aug 06, 2016 Alexanne Brown rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this collection SO so much, even more than I thought I might. Full of powerful and delightful stories. (Also wonderful that Alice Munro won the Nobel right before I got to her story.)
Eric
Eric rated it liked it
Nov 04, 2013
Violet
Violet rated it really liked it
Jul 31, 2016
Grace Mortensen
Grace Mortensen rated it really liked it
Jan 05, 2014
Keri
Keri rated it really liked it
Jan 01, 2016
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Laura J. Furman (born 1945) is an American author best known for her role as series editor for the O. Henry Awards prize story collection. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, Mirabella, Ploughshares, Southwest Review.

She has written three collections of stories (The Glass House, Watch Time Fly, and Drinking with the Cook), two novels (The Shadow Line and Tuxedo Park), and a memoir (Ordinary P
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