Sarah's Reviews > The Best American Short Stories 2008

The Best American Short Stories 2008 by Salman Rushdie
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's review
Jan 21, 2009

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bookshelves: anthologies, fiction_non_genre
Read in January, 2009

There are only a handful of stories I enjoyed among those compiled here. My favorite was "The Worst You Ever Feel", by Rebecca Makkai, richly imagined and infused with music and history. Having just read Chabon's entreaty to put action back into fiction, which I fully support, I couldn't help but notice the preponderence of slice-of-life stories.
I put the book down, forgot about it, picked it up again. I went through the first lines of all of the stories, and the first paragraphs. "Make something happen," I begged the authors. "What made the editor notice you?" I don't mind working for a story, but I want to be rewarded for my trust in the author. I want to be compensated for the time spent reading the story.

Here is the first sentence of Makkai's beautiful story: "When the nine-fingered violinist finally began playing, Aaron hid high up on the wooden staircase, as far above the party as the ghosts."
Who is Aaron? Why is he hiding? Is he the only one who can see the ghosts? Why are there ghosts? Why does the violinist have only nine fingers? What is the violinist playing? Does having nine fingers affect his music? So many mysteries, and that's just the first sentence. The story winds across continents and years.

Overall, for my taste, this is a spotty collection with a couple of gems.

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