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The Best American Short Stories 2018

(The Best American Short Stories)

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  1,428 ratings  ·  190 reviews
Best-selling, award-winning, pop culture powerhouse Roxane Gay guest edits this year’s Best American Short Stories, the premier annual showcase for the country’s finest short fiction.

“I am looking for the artful way any given story is conveyed,” writes Roxane Gay in her introduction to The Best American Short Stories 2018, “but I also love when a story has a powerful mess
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published October 2nd 2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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Katie Long
Dec 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I knew that Roxane Gay would be great as the editor of this year’s Best American Short Stories, and she didn’t let me down. The stories here represent voices from diverse backgrounds but maintain a common theme of family dynamics and generational and cultural expectations. My favorites were “Good With Boys” and “A Big Truth.”
Jacob Guajardo
Jan 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My favorite story was “What Got Into Us” by Jacob Guajardo
Lillie Lainoff
Nov 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
As a short story writer, I really enjoy this anthology series, from both a reader's and writer's perspective. But BASS 2018? This is my favorite year by far. Roxane Gay doesn't choose stories based on the magazine they are published in. There's even a piece or two of genre fiction (weeks later, I am still haunted by The Brothers Brujo. That first paragraph. THAT FIRST PARAGRAPH. It should be taught in every writing class about how to write a first paragraph.)
I'm not surprised by some of the comm
David Curry
I had the same problem with the 2018 edition of The Best American Short Stories that I had with the 2018 edition of The Best American Poetry: a disturbing feeling that something other than the quality and strength of writing was the driving concern in the editors’ decision-making process. That problem is even more severe in the short story collection than it was in the poetry collection. I can’t believe that this volume, inclusive and representative though it may be, comes anywhere near giving u ...more
Brent Watson
Oct 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
75% of the stories I really connected with. Would highly recommend this collection.
Nov 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was such a strong and salient collection of stories and all really different. I love that Roxane Gay chose stories to collectively represent & explore America as it is now (in all its horrific dysfunction) rather than just choose some great short stories.

My favorites, in order of appearance:
-Boys Go to Jupiter
-Everything is Far from Here
-Control Negro
-The Brothers Brujo
-Items Awaiting Protective Enclosure
-Whose Heart I Long to Stop with the Click of a Revolver
-What Terrible Thing It Was

Oct 25, 2018 rated it it was ok
I've never thought that I'd become such an addict that as soon as October comes, I always feel compelled to read the anthology of the given year, even though I haven't been blown away by anything I've read here in the past several years.

The last time I found a great short story in this series was in 2013 (and I keep re-reading that story, Encounters with Unexpected Animals, ever since, though I never looked up anything else by its author), and though in the years since then, I kept on reading th
Angela Rhoads
Dec 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoyed this collection. I wish Roxanne Gay was appointed permanent editor because she did a fantastic job of choosing diverse stories by diverse authors that are each, individually, impressive and yet, somehow, cohesive as a collection, effectively smashing the ridiculous (and racist/sexist) notion that prioritizing marginalized voices sacrifices... well... anything.

My favorites were numerous: The Art of Losing, Los Angeles, What Got into Us, Control Negro, A Big True, Suburbia!,
Feb 19, 2019 added it
I don't know how to give a star rating to this since I didn't read every story. Am I allowed to post a review without stars? I thought Roxane Gay wrote a great introduction and the stories seemed well chosen. It's the fault of my attention span that I only read a few from start to finish. My favorites were A Family by Jamel Brinkley, Los Angeles by Emma Cline, and Boys Go to Jupiter by Danielle Evans.

I just realized I returned it to the library with a post it note by the table of contents. I wa
Megan Sanks
Oct 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-stories
I keep thinking about the story "The Prairie Wife." Roxane Gay chose a lot of great stories.
Oct 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
A diverse and fascinating selection of American stories, all superbly writter with very few misses (for me). Personal favs were Boys Go to Jupiter by Danielle Evans (a deep dive into racism and responsibility); Unearth by Alicia Elliott (exploring the trauma and legacy of residential schools); Good with Boys by Kristen Iskandrian (a beautifully simple coming-of-age story set in a museum); A Big True by Dina Nayeri (looking at immigration and changes in status it brings, but also the concept of l ...more
Rachel Lu
Dec 27, 2019 rated it it was ok
Can’t believe these are supposed to be the best short stories of 2018.
xTx xTx
Dec 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018
stellar stuff. 'real' people telling 'real' stories but it's all fake. i wish i could write words like these. it was an honor to read.
Jan 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
I don't think I've ever had a reaction to an volume of this anthology quite like this before. I didn't find any story to be boring. I do think a couple of the stories were relatively shrug worthy--decently written but not deserving of the "best" title. I'm specifically thinking of "Los Angeles" by Emma Cline (which surprised me, cos I remember really liking her story last year!) and "The Baptism" by Ron Rash. And some stories I did see as a little too focused on the "political" and not focused e ...more
A collection of 20 short stories that were published in American and Canadian magazines that were selected by author Roxane Gay. My favorites: a Big True by Dina Nayeri about Rahad, a wandering father who seems a disappointment to his daughter who is content living a bland, routine life.
Couger - about living in isolation on the edge of society thinking of but not quite able to give it up. and Items Awaiting Protective Enclosure - Syl remembering her past life of searching for Elk spells (cast-o
May 10, 2019 rated it liked it
this selection was hit-or-miss for me, which i should have expected since Gay is usually hit-or-miss for me too (love her short stories, have never really loved her memoirs or essays). while i wasn't really drawn to the majority of these, i think "Everything is Far from Here" should be required reading for every single human on this planet right now.
Jan 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“if writers have a responsibility for how they narrate the world, certainly readers have a responsibility for what they consume and from whom.” —roxane gay

i’ve seen quite a few “reviews” online about this collection. many citing that the stories are “too political” and that they reflect too deeply of roxane gay’s own political leanings—and maybe they do. however, we all know the real problem here isn’t how political these stories may, or may not be; it’s the lack of empathy in the people reading
When I saw that Roxane Gay was the editor for 2018, this became a must buy. I love short stories and trust her taste implicitly when it comes to deciding which books I'd like to read during the regular year. But I was pretty underwhelmed with this collection as representative of the best of 2018, if I'm being honest. I'm not sure I considered the fact that Gay's interest in pop culture/cultural criticism would result in a book that feels very "of the now" - by which I mean that in 20 years, stor ...more
Apr 15, 2019 rated it liked it
I like this series of anthologies generally and was keen to read one edited by Roxane Gay, since I had read a couple of her books last year. I found the collection pretty uneven, though. I don't recall any stories that I felt overwhelmingly positive about (in other words, none inspired a "wow" from me), and there were several that I felt very meh about and a couple that I was surprised were published in respectable magazines much less collected in a "best" anthology. I did dog-ear a few as worth ...more
Nov 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was an outstanding collection, not that I would expect anything less from the 2018 editor, Roxane Gay. The short story has become perfect for my lunch break, and I'm glad I finally figured out how to incorporate it into my reading schedule because I have read so many great pieces and learned of new writers that I otherwise would not have. From this collection I especially enjoyed: Cougar / Maria Anderson, Unearth / Alicia Elliott, Everything is far from here / Cristina Henríquez, Good with ...more
Oct 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Such an impressive collection of stories this year! Some familiar names, some exciting brand new ones for me.

An underlying question for this collection is can fiction keep up with real life? Does it have the ability to compete with the often ridiculous and flabbergasting reality we live in? I'd argue that this year's collection not only proves fiction's power but also gives a strong reassertion of it's need in the world.

Roxane Gay, you did readers a big big service with this one.
Dec 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
More than any year I can remember, these stories feel current and relevant. There have been other years where I thought the stories were more technically skilled, but this year's batch might be the most powerful I can remember.

As always these are scored on a tough curve.

Cougar - Maria Anderson - 4: Dense and deep.
A Family - Jamel Brinkley - 4: I like where this story ends. All the characters are trying to meet their needs, at least in a limited way. It breaks the myth of family needing to look
May 14, 2020 rated it it was ok
According to my notes, this was my least favorite BASS of the 41 I've read, and by some distance. Gay has a clear preference for "[stories with a] powerful message," but all too often, she lets this focus on message come at the expense of quality storytelling. It's a curious oversight, particularly for a professor of literature. At their best, short stories can put an idea or viewpoint across—can move and convince a reader—as effectively as anything in this world. Much of what I found here, howe ...more
Alissa Hattman
Jan 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
A stunning collection of stories that ask important questions and reveal meaning hidden in the chaos of our current cultural moment. These stories will make you feel and think and consider varying viewpoints and personal contradictions. Thanks to Roxane Gay and BASS 2018 for introducing me to writers who I never read before. I'm excited to read more of Danielle Evans, Jamel Brinkley, Jacob Guajardo, and Cristina Henriquez!
Jan 26, 2019 added it
Definitely not my favorite year-- but then again, there are stories I don't enjoy very much in each edition. That being said, of course there is excellent work, and the best of the best in this collection (in my opinion) is:

***Danielle Evans' "Boys Go to Jupiter"***
***Kristen Iskandrian's "Good with Boys"***
Curtis Sittenfield's "The Prairie Wife"
Matthew Lyons "The Brothers Brujo"
Maria Anderson "Cougar"
Ethan Campbell
I had my usual experience with this collection ... a few duds, a few head-scratchers, and a small handful that were genuinely original, affecting, and memorable. It’s mostly a matter of personal taste.

Anyway, here are the ones that stuck with me, in order starting with the best:

Cristina Henriquez, “Everything is Far from Here”
Yoon Choi, “The Art of Losing”
Matthew Lyons, “The Brothers Brujo”
Alicia Elliot, Unearth
Emma Cline, “Los Angeles”
Kristen Iskandrian, “Good with Boys”
Dina Nayeri, “A Big True
May 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Really well curated selection -- I hadn't read this series for a while, came back to one & found that all of the stories felt the same / were only interested in white people. Glad that this is the one I returned to the series with! I think this was the most consistently satisfying collection of shorts that I've read in a long time, maybe ever in this series? ...more
Lexi Goyette
Jan 07, 2019 rated it liked it
Not my favorite collection.

I love you, Roxane Gay, but why did you include so many stories in the 2nd person narrative? Why? (Using 2nd person narrative in this review feels both hypocritical and meta. Woo!)

There were some good stories, some alright stories, and some stories I couldn't finish.
Sep 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have enjoyed reading the books in this series for almost ten years. It has been one of my favorite ways to discover contemporary authors who are new to me.
This edition curated by Roxane Gay is the best this far, nontraditional, multicultural and gender stretching. It really made me think.
Matthew Abel
Nov 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Is this book set apart from other collections? It has amazing stories. I took me a while to read, not because it was poor, but because it was good. Between stories, I had to set it down.
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Roxane Gay’s writing has appeared in Best American Short Stories 2012, Best Sex Writing 2012, Oxford American, American Short Fiction, West Branch, Virginia Quarterly Review, NOON, The New York Times Book Review, Bookforum, The Los Angeles Times, The Nation, The Rumpus, Salon, The Wall Street Journal’s Speakeasy culture blog, and many others. She is the co-editor of PANK and essays editor for The ...more

Other books in the series

The Best American Short Stories (1 - 10 of 89 books)
  • The Best Short Stories of 1915, and the Yearbook of the American Short Story
  • The Best American Short Stories Of 1916: And The Yearbook Of The American Short Story (1917)
  • The Best Short Stories of 1917
  • The Best Short Stories of 1918 and the Yearbook of the American Short Story
  • The Best Short Stories of 1919
  • The Best Short Stories of 1920 and the Yearbook of the American Short Story
  • The Best Short Stories of 1921, and the Yearbook of the American Short Story
  • The Best Short Stories of 1922 and the Yearbook of the American Short Story
  • The Best Short Stories of 1931 And the Yearbook of the American Short Story 1931
  • Best Short Stories: 1932

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