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|The Best American Short Stories 2005|
by Michael Chabon & Katrina Kenison
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Chabon reaches out toward genre fiction—after all, he writes, a story's delights "all boil down to entertainment, and its suave henchman, pleasure"—but he doesn't go so far as to alienate fans of more traditional stories in the lively latest volume of this venerable series. He begins with a Little League baseball story by Tom Perotta ("The Smile on Happy Chang's Face"), arguably a character study but a rousing sports piece too, and Dennis Lehane's "Until Gwen" follows—"Your father picks you up from prison in a stolen Dodge Neon, with an 8-ball of coke in the glove compartment and a hooker named Mandy in the back seat"—to stir things up a little. Kelly Link contributes an elegant haunted house tale, and Cory Doctorow serves up a "piss-take" on Orson Scott Card's "Ender's Game" with his story of online gaming, "Anda's Game." Stories by Edward P. Jones, Tim Pratt, Charles D'Ambrosio and Tom Bissell skirt genre, too, though Chabon doesn't forget such Best American stalwarts as Alice Munro, Joy Williams, Joyce Carol Oates and newer writers in the more traditional vein. In the big pile of Best Ams, this one holds its own, even if—yawn—six of the stories come from the august New Yorker. (Oct.)
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