Natalie Serber's Reviews > The Best American Short Stories 2011

The Best American Short Stories 2011 by Geraldine  Brooks
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Jan 14, 12

Read from January 02 to 09, 2012

** spoiler alert ** I always have a love-hate relationship with the hodge-podge of excellent stories in Best American and this year was no different. Did I love them all? Almost. Some standouts were Claire Keegan's beautiful and heartbreaking story, "Foster," Sam Lipsyte's energetic and vigorous story, "Dungeon Master," which ignited my curiosity and compassion. I loved Bret Anthony Johnson's story, "Soldier of Fortune" and Jess Row's "Call of Blood." Both stories are complex and surprising. Another great thing about this collection is the introduction written by Geraldine Brooks. She offers up spicy advice for emerging writers (more dorm sex!) and also suggests that we pay attention to the wider world, expand the horizons of our stories. So where does the hate part come in? Well, when faced with complex and compelling stories in which things happen, characters want and are thwarted in their desires, language is vivid, dialog crackles and imagery is spot on...I sometimes feel, well, insecure. How can my work ever measure up? What you have to take away from this reading experience is the joy and astonishment at the talent and hard work and bring that with you to your writing desk.
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