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OK, I revised upward to 3 stars A few of the stories are brilliant, and one should be so lucky in any anthology But I m getting the overriding feeling that those that sort pop out at the beginning, and then plod on in a very careful, capable way, are going to make the coordinates for the book s median I feel like shouting into the book, hey, book Short stories don t have to be longer than five pages It s better in fact for many stories to pack a punch They re not supposed to be mini novels Someone is leading the children astray. By the end of the third story in this collection, which deals with the long term emotional impact of being sexually molested by an uncle, I was exhausted.I skipped the fourth story because I didn t understand the first three paragraphs and came to the fifth story, Quiet Men by Leslie Jamison.It begins HE was a poet who worked with intricate forms villanelles and pantoums but during our month together he spoke quite simply My bookmark got stuck there for a few months, which is a shame, as Quiet Men is a fascinating story A lot of the stories from these American creative writing courses seem like they ve had all the life pressed out of them The sentences are so smooth and dry that their meaning eludes you They don t express any emotion The emotion is there but it s buried very deep Which makes it somehow literary, I suppose.Quiet Men, as that first sentence shows, is interested in this tension between what is said and what is felt It s written in a very understated way but it s full of dynamic contradictions The narrator tells a man she s just had sex with that she s not interested in talking about emotions but secretly I wanted him to ask some questions I wanted to discuss why we wouldn t talk about our emotions, and what it would mean, and how it would feel The man doesn t find her attractive and she finds that arousing I liked the thought of him aroused by a woman he found unattractive It s a very polished story They re all very polished stories I long for something a little bit raw When the man rips her bra off and fucks her from behind, I don t want it to be told to me in a neutral tone through ten layers of polished glass.But still, Quiet Men is so deeply interesting that it remains interesting in spite of all the polish The girl, who has had sex with a cruel man as a sort of experiment, turns on him with her own cruel intention After a few nights, I decided to start telling Treat everything he didn t want to hear It would be like pressing a bruise to produce a certain, predictable feeling There is a lot of dry humour in this story She meets a simple minded guy who takes her for a ride in his tow truck and talks in clich s She tells him it s nice when people like you I was trying to practice saying things that were simple and true, she writes Probably because after years of polishing your prose at an American university, it s a really hard thing to do.Leslie Jamison has written a novel called The Gin Closet that is probably worth investigating.I haven t read the other stories in the collection yet, though I m a very slow reader. Surprisingly, my mother picked out this book for me I m a huge creative writer, and she felt I could learn a lot from this collection of stories So far I ve read two and found them both amazing This is a compliation of 17 short stories that have been written in the top writing programs across the U.S They range in ideas, style, and pretty much everything I ll have to read them all to form an official opinion but so far it is awesome I love writers The first story Alice is suburb The next Inheritance is awful The rest of the first half of the stories are mostly average to a little above Then there is a stretch of five outstanding stories in a row which push my rating up to four stars Alms , Men More Than Mortal , Men and Boys , The Wizard of Khao I Deng , Venn Diagram Collection was definitely worth it for that quintet of truly incredible stories. I enjoyed reading these stories, which were all over the map some deeply strange, and some based in reality It s always interesting to me to read short fiction by previously unpublished authors, and especially in this case, where the stories are coming straight out of MFA programs and writing workshops Given my own tendency to write thinly disguised fiction about myself when I was writing in college, I couldn t help but wonder with some of these stories if there weren t some seeds of autobiography in them.Some I liked than others, but that s par for the course with this type of anthology I will say that at the end of the last story the main character was made out to be rather despicable, and so that has left me with an ugh feeling But I do know that I liked some of the other stories, so I would recommend this if you like short fiction. I ll be honest, I didn t get through all the stories I skipped three Two I started and couldn t get through and the other I just never got around to This is a collection of stories culled from the finest our country s graduate programs have to offer That being said, I was woefully unengaged by these stories They were all well written There s nothing I can find to be critical of in the craft Perhaps it is merely my inability to be drawn into short stories Beyond Chekov and Babel, there seem to be few short story writers that can really hook me right from the start and sweep me into the story world And they manage it many times over and in far fewer pages than any of the stories presented in this collection Of course, Chekov and Babel are canonical and to think that any fresh out of grad school writer would be able to present something on that level is probably unfair to them There was one story, The Man Who Ate Michael Rockefeller by Chris Stokes, that was the exception Maybe it was because I admire anyone who can make me laugh, as it is a skill I envy in writers since I have so much trouble duplicating it But I m hesitant to say that the humor in the story was the sole factor that drew me to the story There was an effortlessness that defied the richness of the story and that, to me, is one of the markers of a great writer I tried to search for Chris Stokes online, to see if he s written anything else lately, but have come up empty handed If anyone out there runs across anything, let me know, I d love to see what else he has to offer. .DOWNLOAD E-PUB ♭ Best New American Voices 2008 ♱ Critically Acclaimed Novelist And Short Story Writer Richard Bausch Continues The Tradition Of Identifying The Best Young Writers On The Cusp Of Their Careers In This Year S Volume Of Best New American Voices Here Are Stories Culled From Hundreds Of Writing Programs Such As The Iowa Writers Workshop And Johns Hopkins And From Summer Conferences Such As Sewanee And Bread Loaf As Well As A Complete List Of Contact Information For These Programs This Collection Showcases Tomorrow S Literary Stars Julie Orringer, Adam Johnson, William Gay, David Benioff, Rattawut Lapcharoensap, Maile Meloy, Amanda Davis, Jennifer Vanderbes, And John Murray Are Just Some Of The Acclaimed Authors Whose Early Work Has Appeared In This Series Since Its Launch In The Best New American Voices Are Heard Here First So, as the title might suggest, this is a compilation of stories written by up and coming authors Everyone is associated with some sort of graduate program, so you know they re legit It was a generally good read, and it was actually in ways a bit nicer to read completely disparate authors rather than a collection of short stories by the same authors Still, these are up and coming authors, so they tend to fall into the same pitfalls that you would expect Still, it s definitely worth it. Let s just say I am much less disappointed about not getting into an MFA program after reading these stories They are quintessentially modern everyone is living in a kind of semi permanent state of post Apocalyptic suburban ennui, and no one likes each other very much Lots of animals die in very symbolic ways, and people say things that make no sense, but are meant to be quite meaningful Overall, I found the collection exhausting. Some of the stories in here were really good Most, however, left me muttering something along the lines of How the hell did this person get into Iowa If you want to read good contemporary fiction, you re better off skipping these Best American collections and buying a couple of copies of Zyzzyva and Ploughshares.