New American Stories (Vintage Contemporaries)
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In New American Stories, the beautiful, the strange, the melancholy, and the sublime all comingle to show the vast range of the American short story . In this remarkable anthology, Ben Marcus has corralled a vital and artistically singular crowd of contemporary fiction writers. Collected here are practitioners of deep realism, mind-blowing experimentalism, and every hybrid in between. Luminaries and cult authors stand side by side with the most compelling new literary voices. Nothing less than the American short story renaissance distilled down to its most relevant, daring, and unforgettable works, New American Stories puts on wide display the true art of an American idiom.
loudly, at the ground, “Fuck war, fuck, war.” People gathered around and patted his back. Some of them, confused and tired, or else just lazy, patted Garret’s back, patted anyone’s back. There were, again, sign-up sheets against the wall. Garret signed up for three different things. He walked out into the city. Drunk people were moving slantly across the sidewalks and streets, though it was only Wednesday. Garret thought that he might go back to Florida. Maybe get a job on a golf course. He once
a lot of the stories feature older sisters, and that the older sisters are always horrible.” “What do you mean?” I said. I paged through the galleys of the story about the bad blind date. “Well,” my sister said, “in one story, the older sister tries to murder the younger sister by feeding her to wolves. In another, she murders her by feeding her to monsters.” “Well,” I said. “Monsters, that’s silly. Monsters aren’t real.” “In another,” my sister continued, “the older sister kills some homeless
dazed mothers in their rows of beds, the unmistakable face of Ruby Hornaday. Flaming orange hair, freckles sprayed across her cheeks, hands folded in her lap, and a thin gold wedding ring on her finger. The material of the ward ripples. Tom leans on the handle of his cart to keep from falling. Blue, he whispers. Blue, blue, blue. He retreats to his chair in the corner of Fran’s washing room and tries to suppress his heart. Any minute, he thinks, her baby will come through the door. Two hours
a circular pool at the very center of the building, dark shapes race back and forth in coordination. Jacks, Ruby murmurs. Aren’t they? Tom blinks. You’re pale, she says. Tom shakes his head. She helps him back out into the daylight, beneath the sky and the trees. The baby lies in the buggy sucking his fist, examining the clouds with great intensity, and Ruby guides Tom to a bench. Cars and trucks and a white limousine pass slowly along the white bridge, high over the river. The city glitters
board game with the other patients, but this had mostly proved too great a challenge. There had been times when, walking to or from the bathroom or the water fountain or the patients’ common room, or standing in line to receive his medications at the nurses’ station, or even simply sitting upright on the table in the examining room, he’d had the strong sensation that the air through which he moved was gathering around him and becoming—really, no word was sufficient to name it—substantive. Its