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The Granta Book of the American Short Story, Volume two

(The Granta Book of the American Short Story #2)

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  356 ratings  ·  33 reviews
Is being an artist a radical form of entrepreneurship or a vocational calling like the priesthood? Is it an extension of philosophy or an offshoot of entertainment? In three richly interlinked but distinct 'acts' - Politics, Kinship and Craft - Sarah Thornton compares and contrasts answers to the simple but profound question: what is an artist? 33 Artists in 3 Acts draws o ...more
Paperback, 782 pages
Published September 2009 by Grove Press, Granta (first published November 10th 2007)
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4.04  · 
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 ·  356 ratings  ·  33 reviews

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Paul Bryant
This did not knock me out but lemme tell you it would’ve if it had fell from the top shelf and caught me a curt blow upon the cranium. It’s a whopper. I think my reviewing career would have come to a sudden halt. I read it over about four years and finished it this week.

Well of course I would like to spin some grand theory about The Short Story And Its Vastly Underappreciated Importance but who has the time. Not you, not me. What I can say is that now – right now – is a golden age, specifically
Marck Bailey
Oct 01, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: short story writers
Any collection of short stories by different authors is going to have its highs and lows. There are plenty of lows in this, but about one-third of the stories resonated with me. Among my favorites were:

- John Cheever's "Reunion," which managed, in probably only 1,000 words, to give us everything we needed to know about the history between a father and son -- and did so with much humor.
- Tom Franklin's "Grit," which managed to toe the catwalk between darkness and roller coaster throughout its end
Anthologies are a dicey thing. You may either get some real good works and some new authors you have never heard of or if the editor is not up to the mark, you get some listless collection of works by the usual well known names. I have been lucky in this regard several times, I read Juan Rulfo the first time in one such latin american anathology. The Granta Anthology is a a collection of 44 stories written in the second half of the 20th century by American writers. Since the editor 'Richard Ford ...more
Nov 27, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: shortfiction
It's very difficult to make a bad collection out of the kind of writers in this book, and this isn't a bad collection, it's just a less necessary one than the original Granta Book of the American Short Story. There's no arc here; the eighties minimalists have won over the seventies experimentalists - only Barthelme gets any space in this edition - and the new people just aren't good enough to merit inclusion. I mean, Z.Z. Packer? Nell Freudenberger? It's not entirely Ford's fault, because the ea ...more
Bryan Murphy
Jun 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a splendid read. In a boring, didactic introduction, the editor bangs on about the shortest of the stories, tempting the reader to ignore all the others, which would be a shame. The stories are all well crafted, though they vary considerably in content and style. Inevitably, not all will be to every reader’s taste, and though I found a few distasteful, I was happy enough to be forced out of my comfort zone for a short time. In several, I was struck by how surprisingly different the USA i ...more
Jul 11, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
As far as variety goes, this book has it. But the choices within did not impress me. I like short stories, but I think that I am not a fan of modern short stories. I want closure and most of these stories lacked closure. They did not even read like a story, but more like an exercise in wriitng and cleverness.
Ronald Wise
May 30, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Following an inspiring Introduction by editor Richard Ford, I was disappointed by the early selections in this collection. Perseverance paid off, however, as I was pleased to later encounter over a dozen excellent stories I had not yet read in other anthologies. These included: “The Artificial Nigger” by Flannery O’Conner; “Oh, Joseph, I’m So Tired” by Richard Yates; “Killings” by Andre Dubus; “Helping” by Robert Stone; “Get Some Young” by Barry Hannah; “Ancient History” by Richard Bausch; “The ...more
Read in 2008 with Dad.

What a behemoth of a book for us to have picked for our challenge. As you may remember, we wound out spreading this one out and reading it in both July AND October and even then it was touch and go whether we’d finish this one as it’s just too darn big for me to carry around (and I do apparently almost all my reading in transit).

There were a few oldies thrown in at the beginning, where I thought “what is this one doing here?” (i.e., given the composition of the rest of the
Jan 14, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Richard Ford's Introduction - 2 stars

John Cheever's Reunion - 3 stars

Grace Paley "Friends" -- 2 1/2 stars - strong content but the lack of quotation marks and the avoidance of reader friendly exposition (for too long I had no idea who was who and what was going on) are annoying.

Richard Yates "Oh, Joseph, I'm So Tired" - 1 star

Updike "Natural Color" - 3 - the last thirteen words ruin the ending and make the story seem more of an exercise than it actually is.

Andre Dubus "Killings" - 4

Bharati Muk
Jan 05, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not the author's fault, but nonetheless the amount of scanner errors in this book is unacceptable. Substitution of exclamation points for lower case t's transforms everyday statements into ecstatic slang, yes, but it's annoying.

Most of the stories are excellent, but a couple have no qualification save for, apparently, the usage of unfamiliar ethnic words.

I understand most of the United States and the rest of the world is upset with the second Bush presidency -- I'm no fan -- but how immature to
Thomas Kiernan
Mar 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A marvelous collection here. I have a few favourites but I think that Robert Stone's short story, "Helping" is just magic. Again we have the bumbling middle aged alcoholic, the cynical Vietnam veteran who is never far from shooting his neighbour just for the hell of it. He is the perfect metaphor for that generation of men who came of age in the 1960s America of free love and drugs and who left their youthful dreams behind in the jungles of Vietnam. There are so many others here. For the short s ...more
Charles White
Apr 10, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
By and large, an excellent collection. Plus, the intro by Ford is a must read for anyone interested in the aesthetics of the contemporary short story. He also writes a beautiful intro to Barry Hannah's AIRSHIPS. Ford really can write brilliantly from a theoretical stance; he impresses me more for this than through his own creative efforts, though I haven't tackled ROCK SPRINGS yet. Perhaps I'll revise my opinion then.
Dec 20, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's hard to read an anthology, despite the draw of Richard Ford's presence here as editor. A role he takes up with aplomb, providing an authoritative introduction on the short story, even as it brings out his bitterness toward the solipsism and weakness he associates with academic creative-writing courses. Gaitskill, Moore, Lee, and Cheever are great. Others suffer from the pointlessness of surreal thought, where things just happen.
Jan 04, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have been only been able to read a story here and there, so my rating isn't on the entire collection, but I love what I have read so far! John Cheever is the man. I dig how this collection combines the "old school" with new gen. writers. This will def come with me on the plane for spring break, even though it weighs a few pounds (no kidding).
Apr 19, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've only read three stories and I was surprised to find that they while I think a lot of Welty and Bartheleme, I didn't fall in love with these. But I like the range of authors covered and the selection of old and new... my rating may yet change.
Nov 17, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
At over 700 pages, I didn't finish every story, but I did read a lot: some old, some new and enjoyed most of them. Including The Yellow Wallpaper by Perkins Gilman--one of my very favs--a holdover from high school (wait, it must've been college--my h.s. wasn't that sophisticated!ha!).
Apr 09, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Not a terrific collection - probably because the editor was bent on including a cross-section of what has been written recently. I would much preferred that he'd concentrated on using excellent stories rather than those representative of different styles.
Katie Bailey
I've only read about half the stories in this massive book, and if I had to pinpoint a theme it might be sexual violence. Not like assault but more like violence that is sexy and sex that is a replacement for or simulacrum of violence. sortof the soul of america i guess.
Jun 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My wife has fleas ... ahem ... am I right folks? Hey, they can't all be winners. Did I mention CivilWarLand in Bad Decline, A Temporary Matter, and People Like That Are The Only People Here? Yeah, game over.
Jan 05, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Such variety, such resonance. Every story a glimpse into another world. An anthology this big is hard work because it demands so much of the reader, with so many different styles and experiences. But there are many glittering jewels of stories in this book and I strongly recommend it.
Peter E.  Frangel
Sep 09, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013, short-stories
There are some 5 star stories in here, some really talented and incredible writers who make this the almost (but not quite) perfect book of short stories. A huge variety of styles and characters, I highly recommend this to any aspiring writer looking for his or her voice.
May 03, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As with the first collection, this is a decent collection of short stories from some of America's finest writers. If you use it (like I did) to take in a broad sample of writers from a field you were hitherto unfamiliar with then you are unlikely to be disappointed also.
Sidik Fofana
Mar 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
SIX WORD REVIEW: Cheever, Updike, and Jones--oh my!
Done. Big book. Pretty good collection. Exhausted.
Lee Harrington
May 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
THis is a WONDERFUL collection. A must-read for all aspiring short story writers. And for the people who love to read stories!
Nick Jacob
Mar 14, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Choosing the stories is the hard thing...
Janice Riley
Sep 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was one of my textbooks this past Summer semester, in my Fiction Workshop. An excellent selection of short stories.
Lawrence Coates
A good anthology, though I preferred the earlier edition edited by Ford. I'll be using this to teach Creative Writing at various levels.
Abi Duke
Mar 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great range of stories with shocking ends, sentimental attitudes and sharp story telling. My favourite was 'The Lottery'
Ann M
Many great stories, some okay, but a vastly better percentage than the usual anthology.
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Richard Ford, born February 16, 1944 in Jackson, Mississippi, is an American novelist and short story writer. His best-known works are the novel The Sportswriter and its sequels, Independence Day, The Lay of the Land and Let Me Be Frank With You, and the short story collection Rock Springs, which contains several widely anthologized stories. Comparisons have been drawn between Ford's work and the ...more

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The Granta Book of the American Short Story (2 books)
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