Dusty's Reviews > The Best American Short Stories 2007

The Best American Short Stories 2007 by Stephen King
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Nov 28, 2008

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bookshelves: read-in-2008
Read in November, 2008 , read count: 1

This is the third volume in the Best American Short Stories Series that I've read cover to cover. And it's a consistent collection. There are a few real head-turners (Lauren Groff's "L. Debard and Aliette: A Love Story" and Karen Russell's "St. Lucy's Home For Girls Raised By Wolves" are my favorites), and there are a few stinkers, but for the most part this anthology is populated by solid if not particularly memorable pieces of short fiction.

I could write for a while about a few of the stories but what I've found more interesting is what those stories reveal about Stephen King, the man who chose them. In his introduction King explains that the stories he has chosen are the ones he felt most compelled to share. The ones that made him say, "Oh man, you gotta read this!" This probably explains the inclusion of stories that shock but are not particularly well-written. There's one about a dying man who has pretended his entire adult life that he is Jewish but in fact has never been circumcised and who asks on his deathbed that his forty-something son arrange his bris. Yes, I found myself infected with King's desire to share the story's bizarre set-up with other people. No, I did not particularly like the story itself. Maybe I ask too much.

Inevitably I pit this volume against the other two I have read, and it falls comfortably in the middle. Unfortunately, it lacks the glee and energy of Michael Chabon's stellar 2005 volume. Fortunately, however, it also lacks the "awe of the mundane" that characterized Garrison Keillor's snooze-inducing 1998 volume. If I have taken anything valuable away from the experience of reading (and in some cases trudging through) this anthology, it is confirmation of my suspicion that short story anthologies have very little to do with the stories themselves but everything to do with the person charged with their selection.

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10/13/2008 page 227
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