This Best of Series Always Becomes a Classic
Lorrie Moore who is thought of as a master of the short story selected forty stories from over two thousand from previous editions of the series. These are not simply good short stories.
They represent the time they were written.
How things were in the literature world. What was popular to examine as an American during the decade of the story.
The first story published by Ernest Hemingway is in this collection. William Faulkner has one in this collection with a note from his biography confessing that he began writing “as an aid to love-making.”
James Baldwin’s offering conveys to his audience what the bonds of brotherhood with the connection to music are all about.
The main idea Lorrie Moore was after with this collection seems to be how to define what it means to be American. Putting together this group of stories pushed her to look not just at the history within the stories, but at the reality of our nation going through developmental stages and progress.
Moore wanted to showcase stories that defined America’s literary artistry through time.
Lorrie Moore, was a professor of creative writing at the University of Wisconsin-Madison for many years, is not a professor of English at Vanderbilt University. Moore is a well-honored writer herself. She was awarded the Irish Times International Fiction Prize and a Lannan Foundation fellowship. She also won the PEN/Malamud Award and Rea Award for her short stories.
She is well qualified to make this collection for the centennial edition of the series of greatest American Short Stories.
Heidi Pitlor is the series editor and has been since 2007. An author in her own right of the novels The Birthdays and The Daylight Marriage.
Conclusion: The reader reviews favored the book as a whole. Heavily favored I would say. Some couldn’t connect well to certain representative stories for the earlier decades while others enjoyed the history enough to read even if they didn’t feel connected to the story.
Overall the assemblage can be considered a great collection of short stories and well worth the read. Many readers became fans of the series because of this collection.