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The Pushcart Prize XXXI: Best of the Small Presses (2007 Edition)

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3.95  ·  Rating Details ·  60 Ratings  ·  17 Reviews
A collection of short stories, essays, and poems, culled from small presses and literary journals.
Paperback, 549 pages
Published December 18th 2006 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published November 18th 2006)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Ben
Nov 23, 2007 Ben rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Short Story fans, writer-readers, avid contemporary fictionists
This might be the third Pushcart Prize volume I've read so far. Unlike the Best American &c compilations, Pushcart at least doesn't appear to go by a new primary editor every year -- so I think that the stylistic grain might be a bit more consistent.

Pushcart XXXI has something I don't remember from before: a whole lot of brief memoir pieces. I especially liked "What Fundamentalists Need For Their Salvation," a scathing, unambiguously politically partisan, razor-sharp meditation on how fundam
...more
Mark
Aug 26, 2008 Mark rated it really liked it
Some wonderful reads in this book -- even though there are several in the collection that I marvel over how they were even nominated, let alone selected for award. I try to get around to this collection every year nonetheless, to see what's valued or what new (or for me, undiscovered) voices are worth further investigation.

High on my notables list (so far) from this collection: Stacey Richter's short story, "The Land of Pain" (pub'd in Willow Springs) -- so good I afterwards bought her short st

...more
Joe
Jun 22, 2012 Joe rated it it was amazing
A great collection of stories from a strong variety of authors. Most of the stories are good, some are great and none of them made me fall asleep. If you like short stories but find collections of classics to be uneven or too jarring in their stylistic differences, give the Pushcart Prize a try.
Beth
Feb 28, 2017 Beth rated it liked it
Shelves: shortstories, essays
This one was a little more hit-or-miss than usual. My favorites:
~Laundry, by Maureen Stanton
~Cocktail Hour, by Kate Braverman
~Voices, by John Clayton
~If a Stranger Approaches You..., by Laura Kasischke
~Shelter, Nami Mun

And I always like to run into an Elizabeth McCracken story.
Will
May 01, 2008 Will rated it really liked it
Despite the buzz-word-like blips-on-the-page acknowledging 9/11, or the occasional unbearably snooty "Look at Me/Why I'm Unique" essays by either hip fashion-conscious ideologues for the left-but-not-too-left or born-again Christians who preach not to preach... Despite these disturbing inclusions in what is otherwise a noteworthy bundle of beautiful chickenscratch, this collection is a real pleasure to read and has many stories (and poems!) that will stick with me for some time. In the order in ...more
Anne Sanow
Feb 08, 2008 Anne Sanow rated it it was amazing
Lots and lots of good stuff in here, and I'll shamelessly plug my friend David Schuman's story "Stay," which is about...a guy and his dog! (No more spoilers; read it.) Also good are Benjamin Percy's "Refresh, Refresh" and Karen Bender's "Refund."

Buy Pushcart collections! Read the literary journals where things you like are published! Google the writers you like and see what else they've written and where! This concludes our biased, self-interested writer's message for the day.


Matt
Jul 26, 2008 Matt rated it liked it
Not quite as good as last years. Don't they all say that?

Really, some of the selections seemed a little more tame than I might like and the anti-war stuff, while appreciated, seemed more obvious this year than last, even Tony Hoagland's, who I generally really love.

Still, a great series and one I think really does reward the weeks and weeks of conscious effort it takes to read from the first selection to the last.
Christopher  Ryan
Sep 30, 2012 Christopher Ryan rated it liked it
Though this was published in 2007, the material is heavy on 9/11-Bush-Iraq material. Reading it now, it seems positively dated. Some of it works (such as a story about a strange encounter at an airport), but some of it doesn't (like a heavy-handed piece about rendition).

The stories vary from experimental to dull to exceptional. Same with the essays. None of the poems did it for me.
Kathy
Jan 14, 2008 Kathy rated it it was amazing
Many excellent stories. Includes "Refresh Refresh," one of the most acclaimed short stories of the year, and deserving of the praise that it has received.
I agree with Christy about the essay by Kristen Kovacic. Very moving and thought-provoking.
Gay
Nov 06, 2007 Gay rated it liked it
Shelves: lit
Read "Laundry" and I'll read it again before I say for sure I'm not a fan. It felt jumbled. I don't get it.

Still reading this, a story at a time. Of course, Refresh, Refresh is absolutely stellar.
Christy
Aug 20, 2007 Christy rated it it was amazing
Excellent anthology. Up with the small presses!

Includes a lovely essay by local Pittsburgh author Kristin Kovacic.

And Caketrain is listed on page 500.
Emmet
Apr 06, 2007 Emmet rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Other writers
I'm surprised by the simplicity of the fiction I've read so far.
Anna
Apr 19, 2009 Anna rated it liked it
So ridiculous that I am reading this tome since I have to carry it around, but it's good stuff
Kinsley
Jan 14, 2009 Kinsley rated it liked it
Must. Keep. Writing.
Chitra Divakaruni
Chitra Divakaruni rated it it was amazing
Mar 26, 2009
Rusty
Rusty rated it liked it
Sep 02, 2007
Mariana
Apr 10, 2009 Mariana rated it liked it
A great read, with much variety and I don't usually like short stories.
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Dec 22, 2009
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Sep 07, 2007
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