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O. Henry Prize Stories 2007

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3.71  ·  Rating Details  ·  236 Ratings  ·  46 Reviews
An arresting collection of contemporary fiction at its best, these stories explore a vast range of subjects, from love and deception to war and the insidious power of class distinctions. However clearly spoken, in voices sophisticated, cunning, or na-ve, here is fiction that consistently defies our expectations. Selected from thousands of stories in hundreds of literary ma ...more
Paperback, 357 pages
Published November 19th 2008 by Anchor Books (first published May 8th 2007)
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(showing 1-30 of 406)
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Claudia
Aug 28, 2008 Claudia rated it really liked it
So far this is such a good collection. "Summer: with Twins" is beautiful and The Scent of Cinnamon is atmospheric, a perfect ghost story, and beautiful example of how wonderful genre writing can be.
Catherine Brown
Feb 10, 2008 Catherine Brown rated it liked it
As usual with these collections, there is a mix of treasure and trash. For me the standouts were Charles Lambert's "The Scent of Cinammon," Yannick Murphy's "In A Bear's Eye," and Christine Schutt's "The Duchess of Albany." Alice Munro's "The View from Castle Rock," is good too I suppose but I'd already seen it in so many other places that it didn't really have any impact this time. I'm beginning to agree with my friend Cyndi that the O'Henry collections, even though they're not 100%great, are a ...more
KayC
Aug 28, 2007 KayC rated it really liked it
I particularly liked "Gringos" by Ariel Dorfman, "The Gift of Years" by Vu Tran, and "The Scent of Cinnamon" by Charles Lambert. What do these 3 stories have in common? I ask myself. Strong settings (wish I could travel more) and a sense of surprise--what I thought was happening (and at times what the characters thought was happening) wasn't necessarily what was really happening. How did Dorfman, Tran, and Lambert do that?
Jenn
Apr 27, 2009 Jenn rated it it was amazing
Best stories:

The company of men- Jan Ellison
John Thomas
Oct 23, 2009 John Thomas rated it liked it
Reading the stories in this collection can be inspiring and depressing simultaneously. There are so many good ones. There are so many bad ones. It seems inevitable that the good ones are different for everybody. The bad ones are never agreed upon and some of the stories are never even mentioned by anyone ever again. Those are probably the most bloodless, toothless tales that shouldn't have gotten in anyway.

How can twenty people write such good work every year and still fall into obscurity? Has
...more
Breeze
Jan 18, 2016 Breeze rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
A great collection of short stories. I've had this book for a long time and am trying to clear my shelves. I wish I had paged through the whole book before starting to read individual stories because at the end there were explanations by each author, describing their inspirations for the stories they wrote.
Stacy
Jan 20, 2008 Stacy rated it liked it
I picked up this collection so I could get better familiar with the types of stories that were not only being accepted by literary journals across the country, but being honored in some way as well. Instead of reading dozens upon dozens of literary journals to understand every niche market, this was my way of researching the cream of the crop selected for these journals. I can’t say all these stories were all that deserving, but I can count my self educated. I bought (and started reading) this c ...more
Tiny Pants
Nov 22, 2008 Tiny Pants rated it liked it
I know it's not a fair comparison, since O. Henry pulls its stories a bit differently than Best American does, but man, did this blow BASS 2007 out of the water. For one, I was able to read it in about 1/25th the time. For two, the stories were actually really good (see my review of the Best American Short Stories 2007 for what those were like -- hooboy). This collection was diverse enough to never be boring, and had very few pieces that stood out as clunkers. It also had way fewer of the "usual ...more
Jean Matthews
Mar 01, 2015 Jean Matthews rated it it was amazing
Thought provoking, excellent stories. Often disturbing but worth the read.
Kurt
Jun 10, 2008 Kurt rated it liked it
These collections are always difficult, given the selection of editors, and the world weary vision that must eventually infuse the reading process for professional readers. There are great stories in this book - William Trevor always a joy - and then a fair amount of mediocre stories that fly under the radar of 'experimental.' Sometimes, as in "The Bear" the experiments pay off, but frequently they are more frustrating than anything else. That said, it was a great teaching book because it demons ...more
Alison
Mar 12, 2009 Alison rated it liked it
Shelves: short-stories
I enjoyed this anthology well enough, but what has stuck with me is a single piece of (repeated) imagery from one of the stories. None of them have really stuck with me beyond that, and I found that I wasn't particularly absorbed in what I was reading much of the time.

I guess that's all to say that the 2007 collection wasn't particularly worth the 1 year wait to get it from my library. (Though I think the wait had more to do with it being ordered & processed & read by the cataloging dep
...more
Christy
Jun 03, 2008 Christy rated it liked it
A lot of people whose opinions I respect really like these annual short story anthologies. After I finish this one and the Best American 2007 (maybe Stephen King can really pick 'em?), I solemnly swear to quit buying them because they never fail to disappoint.

After my carping above, the collection picked up, but I am still not convinced that I should continue to invest my money and time in these "best of" collections. I ended up skipping 3 stories and really enjoyed about 3 or 4, particularly th
...more
Anupriya Sinha
Jan 28, 2015 Anupriya Sinha rated it liked it
A good collection of short stories on varied topics. Some are good and there are some that came across as uninteresting.
tomlinton
Jun 02, 2009 tomlinton rated it really liked it
Shelves: kindle
It's relevancy and writing
that lead me to a lesser score
for this anthology than
the year after

Some slices of the human life
just don't wring my bells
or appeal to my peelings

I suspect this is due
to my taurishness
which is at star wars
with my mooning aquarians
and rising with the librans

...or some such truck

Thus...
when I likes it
I likes it
my precious
and there ain't no explaining

It's just universal stuff
Maybe star dust
Maybe fairy dust
Maybe corpse powder
Lisa
Jan 14, 2008 Lisa rated it really liked it
Same as with Best American, insightful as to what garners attention in today's short fiction world. "The View From Castle Rock," by Alice Munroe, is as good as she consistently is. Nice work with varying points of view. "Mudder Tongue," by Brian Evenson, has stuck with me long after I read it, though I keep questioning why. "Djamilla," "Summer, with Twins," and "City Visit" were also standouts. I wasn't a huge fan of William Trevor's "The Room," which was the opening short in this book.
Kirsten
Jan 27, 2008 Kirsten rated it it was ok
I wasn't very impressed with the collection this year. Maybe it was just crankiness on my part, but for the most part I felt underwhelmed. However, for me the standouts were "The Gift of Years" by Vu Tran, "Mudder Tongue" by Brian Evenson, "El Ojo de Agua" by Susan Straight, and naturally, "The View from Castle Rock" by Alice Munro (which I had already read).

If I was on the prize jury and got to write a little introductory blurb for one story, I'd probably choose "Mudder Tongue."
Brandy
I'm calling it quits on this one. I tried to like it, but after reading more than a quarter of the stories in this collection, not one of them moved me at all. I can picture all the authors, sitting at home, dressed in black turtlenecks and hunched over their keyboards, maybe smoking thin cigarettes. They just have that literary coolness to them that (to me) winds up just plain inaccessible.

I tried, I failed. What else is new?
Feride Başak
Jul 28, 2015 Feride Başak rated it really liked it
I did enjoy most of the stories, though I think some of them were really sad.
Grant
Dec 23, 2007 Grant rated it liked it
since 1997 i have read many of the O. Henry Prize collections. usually they are filled with surprising and extraordinary stories. this year was not the case. i can't imagine there was such a lack of quality stories, so my guess is the jurors chose poorly. with the exception of a few stories like "galveston bay, 1826", "view from castle rock" (both historical works), and "a stone house", the collection was a yawn.
Nicole
Jun 09, 2007 Nicole rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: those curious about the next generation
the o'henry prize collections are always so great because you get to read the work of young writers who have never published before, but happen to have written something brilliant, right next to the work of the likes of alice munro. of course, the material is uneven (the william trevor that the editors liked so much to me was brutally boring) but the highs make up for the lows.
Dana
Jul 22, 2007 Dana rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Everyone
You get a lot of bang for your buck with a good short story collection, which is why I try to pick up either the O. Henry Awards or the Pushcart Press volume every year. Not every story is great, but for the ones I don't like so much I turn it into an exercise of "What are the elements that make this a worthy short story." And usually, I can figure it out.
Elise
Jan 03, 2008 Elise rated it really liked it
So far I have read "Galveston Bay, 1826" by Eddie Chuculate;"The View from Castle Rock" by Alice Munro; and "A Stone House" by Bay Anapol. I have been dazzled by them all, especially Galveston Bay and Stone House. If stories could be wallpapered to a room for a week or two, or however long you felt like, I would choose those two.
Sara
May 04, 2010 Sara rated it liked it
I finished this some time ago, and somehow never moved it from currently reading to read. I always enjoy these anthologies of prize-winning stories. They seem to consolidate the best of short fiction in a given year, and give me a good overview of current trends and contemporary writers. I recommend the entire series.
Erictseo
Dec 07, 2011 Erictseo rated it liked it
Reviewing a short story collection seems akin to reviewing a banquet. Many dishes pass across your palette.

The good thing was I tried many different kinds of fiction. They didn't cohesively go together, but each one was good enough and small enough to whet my appetite for the next one.
Edan
Jul 03, 2007 Edan rated it really liked it
I read half of this latest from the O'Henry awards on the plane. There are some stunning stories here (even one from Sana--I know her!), and I delighted in the diversity of styles. I tend to enjoy this anthology series better than the Best American.
Ashley
Oct 12, 2013 Ashley rated it liked it
As with any collection of short stories, some appealed greatly to many and others bored or confused me. "The Scent of Cinnamon," however, is one of the best short stories I have ever read, and it is worth picking out and reading.
Avni
Dec 27, 2007 Avni rated it really liked it
Shelves: already-read
If you're interested in seeing the gamut of what a short story can do, read this. It helped me learn how to write short stories, all of which are unpublishable, while feeling like I understand what I'm trying to say.
Guy Choate
Feb 05, 2013 Guy Choate rated it liked it
Shelves: short-stories
Platinum: "Companion" by Sana Krasikov
Gold: "The Gift of Years" by Vu Tran
Silver: "The View from Castle Rock" by Alice Munro
Bronze: "A New Kind of Gravity" by Andrew Foster Altschul
Kelly
Jan 21, 2008 Kelly rated it liked it
So far I'm not sure I like the stories in this anthology as much as I like the stories in "Best American Short Stories." But there are some good ones. And I love a good short story.
Marsena Dufresne
Feb 02, 2008 Marsena Dufresne rated it really liked it
A good collection of short stories. Some of them I read only the first page and then skipped to the next one, but there were plenty in here that inspired me and kept me interested.
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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
...more
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