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American Housewife

A sharp, funny, delightfully unhinged collection of stories set in the dark world of domesticity, American Housewife features murderous ladies who lunch, celebrity treasure hunters, and the best bra fitter south of the Mason Dixon line.

Meet the women of American Housewife: they wear lipstick, pearls, and sunscreen, even when it’s cloudy. They casserole. They pinwheel. They pump the salad spinner like it’s a CPR dummy. And then they kill a party crasher, carefully stepping around the body to pull cookies out of the oven. These twelve irresistible stories take us from a haunted prewar Manhattan apartment building to the set of a rigged reality television show, from the unique initiation ritual of a book club to the getaway car of a pageant princess on the lam, from the gallery opening of a tinfoil artist to the fitting room of a legendary lingerie shop. Vicious, fresh, and nutty as a poisoned Goo Goo Cluster, American Housewife is an uproarious, pointed commentary on womanhood.

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Franny and Zooey

The author writes: FRANNY came out in The New Yorker in 1955, and was swiftly followed, in 1957 by ZOOEY. Both stories are early, critical entries in a narrative series I’m doing about a family of settlers in twentieth-century New York, the Glasses. It is a long-term project, patently an ambiguous one, and there is a real-enough danger, I suppose that sooner or later I’ll bog down, perhaps disappear entirely, in my own methods, locutions, and mannerisms. On the whole, though, I’m very hopeful. I love working on these Glass stories, I’ve been waiting for them most of my life, and I think I have fairly decent, monomaniacal plans to finish them with due care and all-available skill.

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You Should Pity Us Instead

“Amy Gustine’sYou Should Pity Us Insteadis a devastating, funny, and astonishingly frank collection of stories. Gustine can be brutally honest about the murky calculations, secret dreams and suppressed malice to which most of us never admit, not even to ourselves.”—Karen Russell

You Should Pity Us Insteadis an unbroken spell from first story to last, despite the enormous range of subjects and landscapes, sufferings and joys it explores.”—Laura Kasischke

“Amy Gustine’s stories cross impossible borders both physical and moral: a mother looking for her kidnapped son sneaks into Gaza, an Ellis Island inspector mourning his lost love plays God at the boundary between old world and new. Brave, essential, thrilling, each story inYou Should Pity Us Insteadtakes us to those places we’ve never dared visit before.”—Ben Stroud

You Should Pity Us Insteadexplores some of our toughest dilemmas: the cost of Middle East strife at its most intimate level, the likelihood of God considered in day-to-day terms, the moral stakes of family obligations, and the inescapable fact of mortality. Amy Gustine exhibits an extraordinary generosity toward her characters, instilling them with a thriving, vivid presence.

Amy Gustine‘s short fiction has appeared in theKenyon Review,North American Review,Black Warrior Review, the Massachusetts Review, and many other places. She lives in Ohio.

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Fox Tooth Heart

“A phenomenal talent blazing up suddenly on the horizon. . . . precise, brilliant language that evokes without ever having to explain. . . . His transcendent vision gives us devastating glimpses.”—Elle

“John McManus writes visceral prose that explodes within the tight boundaries of the short story. These narratives possess a graceful internal logic and feature a wide range of gritty characters rebelling against an indifferent and often brutal world.”—Bookforum

“The stories in John McManus’sBorn on a Trainare powered by radiant prose.”—Vanity Fair

John McManus’s long awaited short story collection encompasses the geographic limits of America, from trailers hidden in deep Southern woods to an Arkansas ranch converted into an elephant refuge. His lost-soul characters reel precariously between common anxiety and drug-enhanced paranoia, sober reality and fearsome hallucination. These nine masterpieces of twisted humor and pathos re-establish McManus as one of the most bracing voices of our time.

John McManusis the author of the novelBitter Milkand the short story collectionsBorn on a TrainandStop Breakin Down, all published by Picador. His work has appeared inPloughshares,Tin House,American Short Fiction,The Oxford American,The Literary Review,Harvard Review, and many other places. He is the youngest-ever recipient of the Whiting Award.

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The Wascana Anthology of Short Fiction

This anthology of short stories has been designed specifically as an instructional text for first-year university students. To explore the many dimensions of short narrative fiction, the collection includes traditional classics from European culture, from Chaucer to Gogol and Chekhov, and extends to popular and celebrated stories from contemporary writers. There is a decided emphasis on new stories from the Plains region of Canada and the United States. Guy Vanderhaeghe, Richard Ford, Margaret Laurence, Thomas King, Bonnie Burnard, Louise Erdrich–all of them present masterly tales with specific appeal to students at post-secondary institutions.

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Sudden Fiction

“We who love prose fiction love these miniature tales both to read and to write because they are so finite; so highly compressed and highly charged.” Joyce Carol Oates

“People who like to skip can’t skip in a three-page story.” Grace Paley

“The short-short story is an exercise in virtuosity that tightens the circle of mystery surrounding what we know.” John L’Heureux

“It can do in a page what a novel does in two hundred. It covers years in less time, time in almost no time. It wants to deliver us to where we were before we began. Its aim is restorative, to keep us young.” Mark Strand

“There are, in truth, more kinds of short-short stories than I ever knew of or imagined. Wonderful! I rejoice in the richness and variety of all these voices.” George Garrett

“This collection represents the richness and variety of American writers. The 70 pieces themselves–highly compressed, often tantalizing–display a multiplicity of modes and derive them a variety of traditions.” Publishers Weekly

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The Oxford Book of American Short Stories

“How ironic,” Joyce Carol Oates writes in her introduction to this marvelous collection, “that in our age of rapid mass-production and the easy proliferation of consumer products, the richness and diversity of the American literary imagination should be so misrepresented in most anthologies.” Why, she asks, when writers such as Samuel Clemens, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Eudora Welty, Flannery O’Connor, Saul Bellow, and John Updike have among them written hundreds of short stories, do anthologists settle on the same two or three titles by each author again and again? “Isn’t the implicit promise of an anthology that it will, or aspires to, present something different, unexpected?”
In The Oxford Book of American Short Stories, Joyce Carol Oates offers a sweeping survey of American short fiction, in a collection of fifty-six tales that combines classic works with many “different, unexpected” gems, and that invites readers to explore a wealth of important pieces by women and minority writers. Some selections simply can’t be improved on, Oates admits, and she happily includes such time-honored works as Irving’s “Rip Van Winkle,” Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart,” and Hemingway’s “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place.” But alongside these classics, Oates introduces such little-known stories as Mark Twain’s “Cannibalism in the Cars,” a story that reveals a darker side to his humor (“That morning we had Morgan of Alabama for breakfast. He was one of the finest men I ever sat down to…a perfect gentleman, and singularly juicy”). From Melville come the juxtaposed tales “The Paradise of Bachelors and the Tartarus of Maids,” of which Oates says, “Only Melville could have fashioned out of ‘real’ events…such harrowing and dreamlike allegorical fiction.” From Flannery O’Connor we find “A Late Encounter With the Enemy,” and from John Cheever, “The Death of Justina,” one of Cheever’s own favorites, though rarely anthologized. The reader will also delight in the range of authors found here, from Charles W. Chesnutt, Jean Toomer, and Sarah Orne Jewett, to William Carlos Williams, Kate Chopin, and Zora Neale Hurston. Contemporary artists abound, including Bharati Mukherjee and Amy Tan, Alice Adams and David Leavitt, Bobbie Ann Mason and Tim O’Brien, Louise Erdrich and John Edgar Wideman. Oates provides fascinating introductions to each writer, blending biographical information with her own trenchant observations about their work, plus a long introductory essay, in which she offers the fruit of years of reflection on a genre in which she herself is a master.
This then is a book of surprises, a fascinating portrait of American short fiction, as filtered through the sensibility of a major modern writer.