D.H. Schleicher's Reviews > The Best American Short Stories 2019

The Best American Short Stories 2019 by Anthony Doerr
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it was ok

Coming off the joyously chaotic diversity and daring of last year’s Roxane Gay curated edition, this Anthony Doerr picked collection is a huge disappointment, even though it’s clear the he was going for diverse voices as well. Its possibly the weakest of the collections of any year I’ve read. Not only are most of the stories dour and off-putting, very few of them have anything interesting or new to say. A handful of stories I even skipped based on the first few paragraphs.

Of course, with any collection, even the worst of them, there is always something to pick from the rubble. What’s frustrating is that even some of the interesting stories, like “Natural Disasters” from Alexis Schaitkin and “Wrong Object” by Mona Simpson seemed to work overtime to include off-putting elements in otherwise well-crafted tales.

The only real standouts were the opener “The Era” from Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah, a satirical look at our pre-programmed future, and Manuel Munoz’s “Anyone Can Do It,” a humanist and timeless story about the plight of migrant workers, their fragile situations but internal fortitude. Even in a better collection, these would’ve been memorable.

But honestly, that’s it. Just two stories worth your time. I recommend finding these online or in their original publications and skipping the rest of the collection.
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Reading Progress

January 9, 2020 – Shelved
January 9, 2020 – Shelved as: to-read
February 14, 2020 – Started Reading
May 5, 2020 – Finished Reading

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