Sarah's Reviews > The Best American Short Stories 2008

The Best American Short Stories 2008 by Salman Rushdie
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's review
Mar 15, 2009

liked it
bookshelves: 2009, fiction, short-stories, own, review-written
Read in October, 2009

I guess my problem is that I'm not "literary" enough. But I like to think that I know a good story when I read one. And there were, probably 4 in this collection of 20. Maybe five. So I would have to go with 1/4th of the stories that I enjoyed. Or understood, maybe.

I've been taught maybe things about the art of crafting a short story, and because of that I've had the time to develop my own opinions based on the opinions and teachings of others. One thing that I believe must hold true in a short story is that the main character must change, in some way. It doesn't have to be a big change, or a life-altering change, but I feel that if a character doesn't change -- if he is exactly the same at the end of a story as he was at the start -- then what was the point of wasting my time by writing about it?

A lot of these so-called short stories felt more like character studies. There was, for instance, no story. There was no plot, no action, no change -- it was just a piece of writing about a person who did this or did that or thought about something and interacted with someone and then it ended.

If these are the "best American short stories" then I feel sad. Because there has to be better storytelling out there, clearly untapped. Considering that many of the authors represented here are published over and over again.
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message 1: by Sherry (new)

Sherry Call me old-fashioned, but I like stories with a beginning, a middle, and an end! I feel the same way as you about most of the short stories published today. I just don't get them. Whatever happened to the good old-fashioned narrative arc?

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