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Following the immense success of The Art of the Tale, Daniel Halpern has assembled the next generation of short-story writers—those born after 1937—to create a companion volume, The Art of the Story. Attesting to the depth, range, and continued popularity of short fiction, this collection includes seventy-eight contributors from thirty-five countries. The Art of the Story Following the immense success of The Art of the Tale, Daniel Halpern has assembled the next generation of short-story writers—those born after 1937—to create a companion volume, The Art of the Story. Attesting to the depth, range, and continued popularity of short fiction, this collection includes seventy-eight contributors from thirty-five countries. The Art of the Story combines the best of the established masters as well as the fresh, new voices of writers whose work has seldom been translated into English. Includes: Gift from somewhere by Ama Ata Aidoo Keeper of the virgins by Hanan Al-Shaykh Amor divino by Julia Alvarez Immortals by Martin Amis Glass tower by Reinaldo Arenas Wilderness tips by Margaret Atwood Gorilla, my love by Toni Cade Bambara My mother's memoirs, my father's lie, and other true stories by Russell Banks G-string by Nicola Barker Evermore by Julian Barnes Aren't you happy for me? by Richard Bausch In Amalfi by Ann Beattie Rara avis by T. Coraghessan Boyle Mr. Green by Robert Olen Butler Fat man in history by Peter Carey Courtship of Mr. Lyon by Angela Carter Are these actual miles? by Raymond Carver Old man slave and the mastiff by Patrick Chamoiseau Dharma by Vikram Chandra Never marry a Mexican by Sandra Cisneros Prospect from the silver hills by Jim Crace Night women by Edwidge Danticat House behind by Lydia Davis All because of the mistake by Daniele del Giudice Ysrael by Junot Díaz Betrayal by Patricia Duncker Reflections of spring by Duong Thu Huong Girl who left her sock on the floor by Deborah Eisenberg Twenty-seventh man by Nathan Englander Parakeet by Victor Erofeyev Roberto narrates by Péter Esterházy My father, the Englishman, and I by Nuruddin Farah Optimists by Richard Ford Story of the lizard who had the habit of dining on his wives by Eduardo Galeano Hammam by Hervé Guibert Escort by Abdulrazak Gurnah Midnight and I'm not famous yet by Barry Hannah Portrait of the avant-garde by Peter Høeg Moving house by Pawel Huelle Family supper by Kazuo Ishiguro Encounter by Roy Jacobsen First day by Edward P. Jones Remember young Cecil by James Kelman Intimacy by Hanif Kureishi Stump-grubber by Torgny Lindgren Wish by Bobbie Ann Mason Everything in this country must by Colum McCann Pornography by Ian McEwan Behind the blue curtain by Steven Millhauser Willing by Lorrie Moore Lifeguard by Mary Morris Canebrake by Mohammed Mrabet Management of grief by Bharati Mukherjee Muradhan and Selvihan, or, The tale of the crystal kiosk by Murathan Mungan Elephant vanishes by Haruki Murakami Mark of Satan by Joyce Carol Oates In the shadow of war by Ben Okri Where the jackals howl by Amos Oz Life and adventures of shed number XII by Victor Pelevin Talking dog by Francine Prose Free radio by Salman Rushdie Africa kills her sun by Ken Saro-Wiwa Ring by Ingo Schulze Learning to swim by Graham Swift Riddle by Antonio Tabucchi Minutes of glory by Ngugi Wa Thiong'o On the golden porch by Tatyana Tolstaya John-Jin by Rose Tremain by Who, me a bum? by Luisa Valenzuela Cinnamon skin by Edmund White You can't get lost in Cape Tower by Zoë Wicomb Doc's story by John Edgar Wideman Farm by Joy Williams Dirt angel by Jeanne Wilmot Green man by Jeanette Winterson Night in question by Tobias Wolff Child who raised poisonous snakes by Can Xue Helix by Banana Yoshimoto


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Following the immense success of The Art of the Tale, Daniel Halpern has assembled the next generation of short-story writers—those born after 1937—to create a companion volume, The Art of the Story. Attesting to the depth, range, and continued popularity of short fiction, this collection includes seventy-eight contributors from thirty-five countries. The Art of the Story Following the immense success of The Art of the Tale, Daniel Halpern has assembled the next generation of short-story writers—those born after 1937—to create a companion volume, The Art of the Story. Attesting to the depth, range, and continued popularity of short fiction, this collection includes seventy-eight contributors from thirty-five countries. The Art of the Story combines the best of the established masters as well as the fresh, new voices of writers whose work has seldom been translated into English. Includes: Gift from somewhere by Ama Ata Aidoo Keeper of the virgins by Hanan Al-Shaykh Amor divino by Julia Alvarez Immortals by Martin Amis Glass tower by Reinaldo Arenas Wilderness tips by Margaret Atwood Gorilla, my love by Toni Cade Bambara My mother's memoirs, my father's lie, and other true stories by Russell Banks G-string by Nicola Barker Evermore by Julian Barnes Aren't you happy for me? by Richard Bausch In Amalfi by Ann Beattie Rara avis by T. Coraghessan Boyle Mr. Green by Robert Olen Butler Fat man in history by Peter Carey Courtship of Mr. Lyon by Angela Carter Are these actual miles? by Raymond Carver Old man slave and the mastiff by Patrick Chamoiseau Dharma by Vikram Chandra Never marry a Mexican by Sandra Cisneros Prospect from the silver hills by Jim Crace Night women by Edwidge Danticat House behind by Lydia Davis All because of the mistake by Daniele del Giudice Ysrael by Junot Díaz Betrayal by Patricia Duncker Reflections of spring by Duong Thu Huong Girl who left her sock on the floor by Deborah Eisenberg Twenty-seventh man by Nathan Englander Parakeet by Victor Erofeyev Roberto narrates by Péter Esterházy My father, the Englishman, and I by Nuruddin Farah Optimists by Richard Ford Story of the lizard who had the habit of dining on his wives by Eduardo Galeano Hammam by Hervé Guibert Escort by Abdulrazak Gurnah Midnight and I'm not famous yet by Barry Hannah Portrait of the avant-garde by Peter Høeg Moving house by Pawel Huelle Family supper by Kazuo Ishiguro Encounter by Roy Jacobsen First day by Edward P. Jones Remember young Cecil by James Kelman Intimacy by Hanif Kureishi Stump-grubber by Torgny Lindgren Wish by Bobbie Ann Mason Everything in this country must by Colum McCann Pornography by Ian McEwan Behind the blue curtain by Steven Millhauser Willing by Lorrie Moore Lifeguard by Mary Morris Canebrake by Mohammed Mrabet Management of grief by Bharati Mukherjee Muradhan and Selvihan, or, The tale of the crystal kiosk by Murathan Mungan Elephant vanishes by Haruki Murakami Mark of Satan by Joyce Carol Oates In the shadow of war by Ben Okri Where the jackals howl by Amos Oz Life and adventures of shed number XII by Victor Pelevin Talking dog by Francine Prose Free radio by Salman Rushdie Africa kills her sun by Ken Saro-Wiwa Ring by Ingo Schulze Learning to swim by Graham Swift Riddle by Antonio Tabucchi Minutes of glory by Ngugi Wa Thiong'o On the golden porch by Tatyana Tolstaya John-Jin by Rose Tremain by Who, me a bum? by Luisa Valenzuela Cinnamon skin by Edmund White You can't get lost in Cape Tower by Zoë Wicomb Doc's story by John Edgar Wideman Farm by Joy Williams Dirt angel by Jeanne Wilmot Green man by Jeanette Winterson Night in question by Tobias Wolff Child who raised poisonous snakes by Can Xue Helix by Banana Yoshimoto

30 review for The Art of the Story: An International Anthology of Contemporary Short Stories

  1. 5 out of 5

    Misha

    In no particular order: "G-String," Nicola Barker. Love! Love! Love! A woman puts on a g-string to impress her lover and ends up using it to jury-rig his broken windshield wiper. In the process she learns that she doesn't need his validation. A lovely, witty character arc accomplished in a few compact pages with some truly great lines. "Night Women," Edwidge Danticat. This story is incredibly lush for its brevity. Danticat's language is beautiful and evocative. It's like exploring an exquisite pai In no particular order: "G-String," Nicola Barker. Love! Love! Love! A woman puts on a g-string to impress her lover and ends up using it to jury-rig his broken windshield wiper. In the process she learns that she doesn't need his validation. A lovely, witty character arc accomplished in a few compact pages with some truly great lines. "Night Women," Edwidge Danticat. This story is incredibly lush for its brevity. Danticat's language is beautiful and evocative. It's like exploring an exquisite painting, moving from detail to detail until the full picture emerges. Must find more of this Haitian author's work. "Who, Me a Bum?" Luisa Valenzuela. Brief social commentary from the point of view of a poor, homeless person. Interesting while I read it, but a day later I had forgotten it and had to look up in the table of contents which story I had read. "The Child Who Raised Poisonous Snakes," Can Xue. A bizarre little story about a problem child that reads like a folktale. There's a sort of gauziness to the narrative that makes me wonder if that's a cultural storytelling convention (having read very little Chinese literature) or just something this author did with this story. A decent enough story but not one of my favorites thus far.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Sidik Fofana

    SIX WORD REVIEW: Some encouraged me. Many discouraged me.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Wesley Wilson

    I had to read six or seven short stories from this anthology to study thematic elements in creative writing in school. I enjoyed the few stories I read enough that I wanted to finish the rest of the book. I thought it was an excellent opportunity to experience writing from across the globe on a variety of subjects. I have always found that anthologies are great for reading little gems from favourite authors, as well as discovering new authors to read. Of all the authors in this book, Margaret Atw I had to read six or seven short stories from this anthology to study thematic elements in creative writing in school. I enjoyed the few stories I read enough that I wanted to finish the rest of the book. I thought it was an excellent opportunity to experience writing from across the globe on a variety of subjects. I have always found that anthologies are great for reading little gems from favourite authors, as well as discovering new authors to read. Of all the authors in this book, Margaret Atwood was the only one whose work I had previously enjoyed. Some of the short stories that I appreciated in particular in this anthology are A Family Supper, by Kazuo Ishiguro, You Can’t Get Lost in Cape Town by Zoë Wicomb and The Management of Grief by Bharati Mukherjee. There are several other well-written stories, but if I listed them all, you would be here for a while. If you’re looking for a variety of stories that hit on a whole bunch of topics and emotions, this anthology is for you. It’s also great for finding new authors; I will be checking my library for some of the authors found in The Art of the Story.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    A rather tortuous read in some places and disappointing in others. I read Halpern's collection on nature writing years ago and really enjoyed it, so I was looking forward to delving into an interesting and beautifully written array of stories here. Some, like Talking Dog (Prose); Rara Avis (Coraghessan Boyle); The Stump Grubber (Lindgren); The First Day (Jones); and Wish (Mason) were well worth a read but others were either boring, clunky or too maudlin to gain or maintain my interest. A couple A rather tortuous read in some places and disappointing in others. I read Halpern's collection on nature writing years ago and really enjoyed it, so I was looking forward to delving into an interesting and beautifully written array of stories here. Some, like Talking Dog (Prose); Rara Avis (Coraghessan Boyle); The Stump Grubber (Lindgren); The First Day (Jones); and Wish (Mason) were well worth a read but others were either boring, clunky or too maudlin to gain or maintain my interest. A couple of the stories were actually rather repulsive in their subject matter, and I am no prude when it comes to confronting (or LOOONNNG) stories having read Ron Rash's collection, Jesus' Son by Denis Johnson, Flannery O'Connor's A Good Man is Hard to Find and ALL of Roberto Bolano's 2666 (at over 1,100 pages). Also, being an international anthology I was unpleasantly surprised to see so many American/English authors amongst the offering (nearly half of the 80 or so stories included.) There were also very few from Latin America and just two from Russia.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Di S

    Bought it for a creative writing course and found it to be a wonderfully rich resource - full of stories from across the decades with both well-known and less well-known authors.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Robert

    Somewhere along the line I acquired this fat anthology of stories by international writers, born between 1938 and 1970. It's a sequel to a similarly fat anthology called The Art of The Tale, focused primarily on writers born before 1938. In his brief introduction, Daniel Halpern says that the writers in the first volume looked to Anton Chekhov's short stories as their model and thus were writers consciously participating in a literary tradition. But in this sequel, says Halpern, one will read st Somewhere along the line I acquired this fat anthology of stories by international writers, born between 1938 and 1970. It's a sequel to a similarly fat anthology called The Art of The Tale, focused primarily on writers born before 1938. In his brief introduction, Daniel Halpern says that the writers in the first volume looked to Anton Chekhov's short stories as their model and thus were writers consciously participating in a literary tradition. But in this sequel, says Halpern, one will read stories more responsive to popular culture and reactive to the media in all its venues, far beyond literary traditions. I found Halpern's distinction provocative and wondered if it would prove true. Would the world's more recent batch of gifted writers prove, in a way, less literary if equally literate? Knowing Chekhov--one of my favorite writers--I also wondered how he could be the key link in a literary chain when his style of writing was not self-consciously "literary." To the contrary, Chekhov's stories generally are piercingly direct, concrete, and not allusively dependent on references to great literary predecessors, be they Russian, French, German, English, or Spanish. In Chekhov's plays one encounters comedy kindred to Cervantes. That's not equally true in his stories. My personal opinion is that his stories were in fact shaped by the dominant media venue of his day: he wrote for and published in newspapers. And unless an author is serializing (Dickens), he might well accommodate himself to the narrow column widths and short lengths of a news story. So Chekhov, who was in fact widely read and highly literary, also was reactive to his media environment... and part of that media environment included the readership, looking for images of itself. That is how what we call "popular" culture evolved, or at least one dimension of it. I don't fault Halpern for getting this a little bit wrong; he offers a good thought and lots of sensational stories from all over the world. Many of them, especially from Africa, are Chekhovian and conform to economies of continuous action in which character and event intertwine. Some of them are what might be called meta-fictions. I'm thinking of a story about adventures in sexual identities by Patricia Duncker called Betrayal. Other stories like Are These Actual Miles? by Raymond Carver, Optimists by Richard Ford, and Wish by Bobbie Ann Mason, are the evolution and embellishment of the stories of Ernest Hemingway, who pointed to Turgenev as his literary model rather than Chekhov. There are some stories in this collection such as Ysrael by Junot Díaz and Pornography by Ian McEwan and Rara Avis by T.C. Boyle that are miniaturizations of the ethos of Lord of the Flies. The McEwan story is the best, most troubling example of his literary talent that I've read. It's ugly but a knockout. He has said elsewhere that he doesn't really believe in evil, but in his own story, he has proven himself wrong. Here are the advantages of story anthologies: They showcase what Borges called the short story's essential quality. They introduce a reader to writers the reader might want to pursue. (They do the opposite, too.) And in this case they illustrate the adaptability of the story form to all kinds of cultures, societies, and geographies. Short stories of the highest order, as Borges indicated, work and work completely, and whether intentionally or not, they inescapably become part of the literary tradition. In fact, the globalization of the media, notably the Internet, ensures that writers everywhere are reading writers everywhere. I'm sure this book isn't easy to lay hands on, but it's worth the effort to do so.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Karen Kao

    Reading short stories is the only way to learn how to write one. Osmosis isn't working so I'm afraid I'm going to have to do this the hard way. Hence my self-imposed assignment to read The Art of the Story: An International Anthology of Contemporary Short Stories. It took me 4 months to finish all 78 stories, though not as long as editor Daniel Halpern needed to choose them. For 15 years, he culled stories suggested to him by his vast network of writers, editors, agents and friends. He eventually Reading short stories is the only way to learn how to write one. Osmosis isn't working so I'm afraid I'm going to have to do this the hard way. Hence my self-imposed assignment to read The Art of the Story: An International Anthology of Contemporary Short Stories. It took me 4 months to finish all 78 stories, though not as long as editor Daniel Halpern needed to choose them. For 15 years, he culled stories suggested to him by his vast network of writers, editors, agents and friends. He eventually settled on a set of selection criteria: The story was published after 1945; The author was born after 1937; All stories must be in English, whether in translation or in the original and Of course, it has to be a good one. Here are my favorites out of Halpern's collection. For each one, I've tried to identify some excellent craft feature. But truth to tell, I still don't read like a writer but as a normal person would: for sheer pleasure. Margaret Atwood (Canada) - "Wilderness Tips" I love a good old-fashioned omniscient narrator. Forget about seeing the world only through the eyes of a single character. Atwood takes us into the hearts and minds of three sisters - Pamela, Prudence, Portia - and their brother Roland, the eternal odd man out. "It was the mother (Prue explained) who had been guilty of the daughters' alliterative names. She was a whimsical woman, though not sadistic .... Roland had been left out of the set, at the insistence of the father. It was Prue's opinion that he had always resented it." Into this mix comes George, an Hungarian refugee "who spent the forties rooting through garbage heaps and begging, and doing other things unsuitable for a child." He's the fox in the hen house and normally he'd let his appetites range freely but not at the family summer home "this lake, this peninsula, Wacousta Lodge itself, are his refuge, his monastery, his sacred ground. Here he will perform no violations." Richard Bausch (US) - "Aren't You Happy for Me?" Most of us (readers and writers) like to know where we are before we dive headlong into a story. Dialogue is a tricky way to set the scene. That may be why only two stories in this collection open in that way. "William Coombs, with two o's," Melanie Ballinger told her father over long distance. "Pronounced just like the thing you comb your hair with. Say it." Dialogue forms the heart of this story. The narrative arc is the length of one telephone call and its immediate aftermath. Melanie has news for her father and her father has news for her. But the shock of her announcement silences the father. It's not until he hangs up that we hear his story, slow mourning and old, a bass melody that was playing along all the time though we hardly heard it. "He shut his eyes, listened to the small sounds [his wife] made in the kitchen, arranging her flowers, running the tap. Mary, he had said. But he could not imagine what he might have found to say if his voice had reached hers." Jim Crace (England) - "The Prospect from the Silver Hills" I know Jim Crace's work from his 2013 novel Harvest. It's an elegy to the English countryside during a clash of civilizations: subsistence farming versus wool production. I thought his short story would be rooted in that same verdant vision of England. This is England, alright, but a rocky one. Ibela-Hoy, the Hill without a Hat, is a lunar landscape of boulders and dry beds, underneath which wealth must lie hidden. Sand is what the mining company wants but its agent dreams of diamonds. The prospectors would be happy with anything salable: animal, vegetable or mineral. The narrator is so far inside the head of the company agent that we, the readers, come to believe in his delusions, too. "Sometimes he wrapped his arms around boulders, warmed by the sun, and embraced them. My wife, he said. He kissed boulders." Colum McCann (Ireland) - "Everything in This Country Must" It's the language I love about Colum McCann. It's not lyrical in the sense that McCann's made stuff up. These opening lines are deeply real. "It was a summer flood when our draft horse was caught in the river and the river smashed against stones. The sound of it to me was like the turning of locks. It was silage time and the water smelled of grass." The horse is a favorite and so father and daughter struggle to release the horse before it drowns. They almost give up when they hear a car on the road. Soldiers pile out to help. It should be the start of a happy ending but this is Ireland. "The lights got close close closer, and in the brightening we heard shouts and then the voices came clear. They sounded like they had swallowed things I never swallowed." There's a rhythm to McCann's writing, perhaps in all Irish writing, that is unmistakably bound to that corner of the earth. It's in the weather, the trees, the Troubles. It's in lines like this: "The night had started stars." Graham Swift (England) - "Learning How to Swim" This tale is told by another omniscient narrator. In this case, the narrator is a mobile one, slipping from Mrs. Singleton to Mr. Singleton and ending with their son Paul. The opening sentence is brilliant in setting up the central conflict. "Mrs. Singleton had three times thought of leaving her husband." The counting is a structural thread. Mr. Singleton, too, has thought of leaving his wife, though in his case only twice. The sea is the second bit of connective tissue, tying the past (Greece) to the present (Cornwall) and the battle that swimming has become. Swimming was once freedom to Mr. Singleton. "It wasn't the medals and trophies that made him glad, but the knowledge that he didn't have to bother about anything else. Swimming vindicated him." Swimming is now a trial for 6 year old Paul Singleton. His parents are fighting a battle and he's the prize. "he was afraid of his father and his gripping hands. And he was afraid of his mother, too. How she would wrap him, if he came out, in the big yellow towel like egg yolk, how she would want him to get close to her smooth, sticky body, like a mouth that would swallow him." The transitions Swift makes to take the reader out of one head and into the other are brilliant. He doesn't use line breaks or other clumsy markers to warn the lazy reader of the sharp turn ahead. Swift trusts that the reader is as intelligent as his writing. Tobias Wolff (US) - "The Night in Question" I've gushed about this short story before when I first met it in the form of a New Yorker podcast. It's magical to be read to but it's fun to see the words on the printed page, too. This is a classic story within a story. The smaller one is a sermon about Mike who's working the switch at the drawbridge one night. He's got an impossible choice. Does he close the bridge so that the train can cross or does he save his own son lost inside the engine room, that terrible place they call the mill? The larger drama is between Frances and Frank, brother and sister. She has protected him all her life against landlords and debtors and their own father. She demands that Frank does the same. "I'm down in the mill, Frank. I'm stuck in the gears and here comes the train with Mother Teresa and five hundred sinners on board, whoo whoo, whoo whoo. Who, Frank, who? Who's it going to be?" The thing I love about the story is Wolff doesn't tell you how it ends. He never says what Mike the switchman did. Just as we don't get to hear Frank's answer to his sister. But we know anyway.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Dana Miranda

    Although this wasn’t really an international anthology given that the selections are mostly English-dominated and represent a limited range of global writers, out of the eighty stories I still loved about twenty. This accounts for the low score, but the anthology should still be read for its top stories: Margaret Atwood- Wilderness Tips* Toni Cade Bambara- Gorilla, My Love* Julian Barnes- Evermore* T. Coraghessan Boyle- Rara Avis Peter Carey- The Fat Man in History Patrick Chamoiseau- The Old Man Sla Although this wasn’t really an international anthology given that the selections are mostly English-dominated and represent a limited range of global writers, out of the eighty stories I still loved about twenty. This accounts for the low score, but the anthology should still be read for its top stories: Margaret Atwood- Wilderness Tips* Toni Cade Bambara- Gorilla, My Love* Julian Barnes- Evermore* T. Coraghessan Boyle- Rara Avis Peter Carey- The Fat Man in History Patrick Chamoiseau- The Old Man Slave and the Mastiff Vikram Chandra- Dharma Sandra Cisneros- Never Marry a Mexican Jim Crace- The Prospect from the Silver Hills Nathan Englander- The Twenty-Seventh Man* Victor Erofeyev- The Parakeet Eduardo Galeano- The Story of the Lizard Who Had the Habit of Dining on His Wives Peter Hoeg- Portrait of the Avant-Garde* Hanif Kureishi- Intimacy* Torgny Lindgren- The Stump-Grubber* Lorrie Moore- Willing Amos Oz- Where the Jackals Howl Francine Prose- Talking Dog Ingo Schulze- The Ring Graham Swift- Learning to Swim* Edmund White- Cinnamon Skin Joy Williams- The Farm* Jeanette Winterson- The Green Man * These are must reads, and the top three are Wilderness Tips, The Stump-Grubber and Learning to Swim

  9. 4 out of 5

    Dennis

    I have two reasons for giving this anthology a 1.5-star rating. First, for an "International" anthology, the English-language stories dominate the non-English language stories. Only 24 of the 78 stories are non-English works. If I wanted to read a short story by Edward P. Jones or Tobias Wolff, for example, I don't need this "International" anthology. I can easily access them in other anthologies or their respective collections. However, I can't easily access the foreign works. This is the very I have two reasons for giving this anthology a 1.5-star rating. First, for an "International" anthology, the English-language stories dominate the non-English language stories. Only 24 of the 78 stories are non-English works. If I wanted to read a short story by Edward P. Jones or Tobias Wolff, for example, I don't need this "International" anthology. I can easily access them in other anthologies or their respective collections. However, I can't easily access the foreign works. This is the very reason why I picked up this anthology -- to expose myself to writers of different non-English cultures and styles. The lack of diversity is really disappointing. Second, the non-English stories that editor Daniel Halpern selected are disappointing. After I read each of the translated stories (twice!), I still couldn't figure out why Halpern chose them (over other (better) stories). What was his criteria? It certainly wasn't quality. Perhaps he encountered impassable permission issues? Or maybe he's buddy-buddy with the selected writers? Who knows. In defense of this anthology, the English-language stories are quite good. So, the 54 of the 78 stories get a rating of 4-stars.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Rose

    Read "The House Behind" by Lydia Davis (5 stars). "The Twenty-seventh Man" by Nathan Englander (5 stars) "The Night In Question" by Tobias Wolff (5 stars) "While The Women Sleep" by Javier Marias (5 stars) “A Temporary Matter” by Jhumpa Lahiri (5 stars) "First Confession" by by Frank O’Connor (5 stars) Read "The House Behind" by Lydia Davis (5 stars). "The Twenty-seventh Man" by Nathan Englander (5 stars) "The Night In Question" by Tobias Wolff (5 stars) "While The Women Sleep" by Javier Marias (5 stars) “A Temporary Matter” by Jhumpa Lahiri (5 stars) "First Confession" by by Frank O’Connor (5 stars)

  11. 5 out of 5

    Ronald Wise

    An international collection of contemporary short stories. Nearly a third are from the United States, with the rest coming from writers of all the other continents but Antarctica. While there were a couple I couldn’t make much sense of, most offered at least an interesting glimpse at another culture. Nearly a fifth of these were newly discovered gems for me. From the United States were “The Girl Who Left Her Sock on the Floor” by Deborah Eisenberg, “The Twenty-seventh Man” by Nathan Englander, “ An international collection of contemporary short stories. Nearly a third are from the United States, with the rest coming from writers of all the other continents but Antarctica. While there were a couple I couldn’t make much sense of, most offered at least an interesting glimpse at another culture. Nearly a fifth of these were newly discovered gems for me. From the United States were “The Girl Who Left Her Sock on the Floor” by Deborah Eisenberg, “The Twenty-seventh Man” by Nathan Englander, “Optimists” by Richard Ford, “The First Day” by Edward P. Jones, “Mark of Satan” by Joyce Carol Oates, “Dirt Angel” by Jeanne Wilmot, and “The Night in Question” by Tobias Wolff. The gems from abroad were “The Old Man Slave and the Mastiff” by Patrick Chamoiseau (Martinique), “Dharma” by Vikram Chandra (India), “The Parakeet” by Victor Erofeyev (Russia), “Portrait of the Avant-Garde” by Peter Høeg (Denmark), “Encounter” by Roy Jacobsen (Norway), “Intimacy” by Hanif Kureishi (England), “Pornography” by Ian McEwan (Wales), and “Where the Jackals Howl” by Amos Oz (Israel).

  12. 4 out of 5

    Barbara

    Used this one for teaching: a class on the short story, predictably. The collection includes many excellent stories that work well for class discussions. But in terms of using much of this book for a single semester, the stories are too similar to work really well, and repeated use begins to feel monotonous. The stories are not similar in terms of topic or style, but in something like tone or atmosphere. Many of the stories have a certain kind of melancholia that gets a bit old if it's encountere Used this one for teaching: a class on the short story, predictably. The collection includes many excellent stories that work well for class discussions. But in terms of using much of this book for a single semester, the stories are too similar to work really well, and repeated use begins to feel monotonous. The stories are not similar in terms of topic or style, but in something like tone or atmosphere. Many of the stories have a certain kind of melancholia that gets a bit old if it's encountered in class discussion week after week.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Tariq

    To be honest the stories seem to become more profound and insightful as you make your way through the book. However there is a story for nearly everyone in every stage of life. There are some gems to be found and a few less then inspiring. But it’s really up to the reader to make that determination. Overall recommend the read.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jobie

    This is a true world anthology. The majority of the story are good if not great. Even if I didn't love a story I never wondered why it had been included. All the stories seem well picked. From beginning to end I loved reading this book and will read again. This is a true world anthology. The majority of the story are good if not great. Even if I didn't love a story I never wondered why it had been included. All the stories seem well picked. From beginning to end I loved reading this book and will read again.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Mollie Lohmann

    This book was for my fiction class in college. It has some great short stories and was helpful for understanding the craft of fiction writing. The short stories are great for analysis and reading as a writer.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Niki

    I actually enjoyed reading this in my literature class in college.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jeff Hobbs

    Read so far: A Gift from somewhere / Ama Ata Aidoo --2 *Keeper of the virgins / Hanan Al-Shaykh -- Amor divino / Julia Alvarez -- Immortals / Martin Amis -- Glass tower / Reinaldo Arenas -- *Wilderness tips / Margaret Atwood -- *Gorilla, my love / Toni Cade Bambara -- My mother's memoirs, my father's lie, and other true stories / Russell Banks --3 *G-string / Nicola Barker -- *Evermore / Julian Barnes -- Aren't you happy for me? / Richard Bausch --4 *In Amalfi / Ann Beattie -- *Rara avis / T. Coraghessan Boy Read so far: A Gift from somewhere / Ama Ata Aidoo --2 *Keeper of the virgins / Hanan Al-Shaykh -- Amor divino / Julia Alvarez -- Immortals / Martin Amis -- Glass tower / Reinaldo Arenas -- *Wilderness tips / Margaret Atwood -- *Gorilla, my love / Toni Cade Bambara -- My mother's memoirs, my father's lie, and other true stories / Russell Banks --3 *G-string / Nicola Barker -- *Evermore / Julian Barnes -- Aren't you happy for me? / Richard Bausch --4 *In Amalfi / Ann Beattie -- *Rara avis / T. Coraghessan Boyle -- *Mr. Green / Robert Olen Butler -- *The Fat man in history / Peter Carey -- The Courtship of Mr. Lyon / Angela Carter --2 *Are these actual miles? / Raymond Carver -- *Old man slave and the mastiff / Patrick Chamoiseau -- *Dharma / Vikram Chandra -- *Never marry a Mexican / Sandra Cisneros -- Prospect from the silver hills / Jim Crace -- Night women / Edwidge Danticat --2 *House behind / Lydia Davis -- All because of the mistake / Daniele del Giudice -- Ysrael / Junot Díaz -- Betrayal / Patricia Duncker -- *Reflections of spring / Duong Thu Huong -- Girl who left her sock on the floor / Deborah Eisenberg --2 *Twenty-seventh man / Nathan Englander -- Parakeet / Victor Erofeyev -- Roberto narrates / Péter Esterházy -- My father, the Englishman, and I / Nuruddin Farah --2 *Optimists / Richard Ford -- Story of the lizard who had the habit of dining on his wives / Eduardo Galeano -- Hammam / Hervé Guibert -- Escort / Abdulrazak Gurnah -- Midnight and I'm not famous yet / Barry Hannah -- Portrait of the avant-garde / Peter Høeg -- Moving house / Pawel Huelle -- *A Family supper / Kazuo Ishiguro -- Encounter / Roy Jacobsen -- *First day / Edward P. Jones -- Remember young Cecil / James Kelman -- Intimacy / Hanif Kureishi -- Stump-grubber / Torgny Lindgren -- Wish / Bobbie Ann Mason -- *Everything in this country must / Colum McCann -- Pornography / Ian McEwan -- Behind the blue curtain / Steven Millhauser -- *Willing / Lorrie Moore -- Lifeguard / Mary Morris -- Canebrake / Mohammed Mrabet -- *The Management of grief / Bharati Mukherjee -- Muradhan and Selvihan, or, The tale of the crystal kiosk / Murathan Mungan -- *The Elephant vanishes / Haruki Murakami -- *Mark of Satan / Joyce Carol Oates -- *In the shadow of war / Ben Okri -- *Where the jackals howl / Amos Oz -- Life and adventures of shed number XII / Victor Pelevin -- Talking dog / Francine Prose -- *The Free radio / Salman Rushdie -- *Africa kills her sun / Ken Saro-Wiwa -- Ring / Ingo Schulze -- *Learning to swim / Graham Swift -- *Riddle / Antonio Tabucchi -- Minutes of glory / Ngugi Wa Thiong'o --3 *On the golden porch / Tatyana Tolstaya -- *John-Jin / Rose Tremain -- Who, me a bum? / Luisa Valenzuela -- Cinnamon skin / Edmund White --2 *You can't get lost in Cape Town / Zoë Wicomb -- *Doc's story / John Edgar Wideman -- *The Farm / Joy Williams -- Dirt angel / Jeanne Wilmot -- Green man / Jeanette Winterson -- *The Night in question / Tobias Wolff -- Child who raised poisonous snakes / Can Xue -- *Helix / Banana Yoshimoto --

  18. 4 out of 5

    Kerri

    If you love short stories, you won't be disappointed with this anthology. The only thing missing is author information that Norton is usually good about, but Google works! If you love short stories, you won't be disappointed with this anthology. The only thing missing is author information that Norton is usually good about, but Google works!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Ebenmaessiger

    "A Gift from Somewhere," by Ama Ata Aidoo (1995): 7.25 - understated, almost too-readily diving into subaltern speak, but interesting macrostylistic points (ie the midpoint shift from the mallam to the mother, which was effective and broadening), even if the broader outlines of the plot contrivances are familiar (religio-medical shuckster/conman improvises in midst of plight and things work out differently than he'd planned). Also, nicely realist look at a set of deeply superstitious practices. "A Gift from Somewhere," by Ama Ata Aidoo (1995): 7.25 - understated, almost too-readily diving into subaltern speak, but interesting macrostylistic points (ie the midpoint shift from the mallam to the mother, which was effective and broadening), even if the broader outlines of the plot contrivances are familiar (religio-medical shuckster/conman improvises in midst of plight and things work out differently than he'd planned). Also, nicely realist look at a set of deeply superstitious practices. That switch, nonetheless, also ruined it a bit for me--as we get the surprise of perspective shift and tonal shift, but lose connections to established arcs "The Keeper of the Virgins," by Hanan al-Shaykh (1998): 7.5 - Reading predominantly genre stories has ill prepared me for the whiplash of a return to the stillness and impressionistic thinnness of a certain type of literary short story. In fact, it's something I wish some SF tales would take up (as, if I'm being honest, certain types of fantasy stories do actually at least try and replicate the tone here, as well as the subject matter too actually [think of all those Beneath Ceaseless Skies stories populated by penitents and monks and nuns and set in dusty convents and such]). Nonetheless, I was still pleasantly caught off guard by this pointed meditation of a story, in which a dwarf, intrigued by the life therein, visits a convent everyday, until finally being taken on inside, only to be, in turn, half devoted to the place and its inhabitants and half concerned about his increasing withdrawal from the world outside, especially after his own mother and brother recreate his own vigil outside the convent gates in order to get him to return. In fact, it was this last development, noted in the story's final paragraph, that moved this into the “solid” category for me. It wasn't so much as necessarily poignant, or even really earned [the minimum length required for any story to actually “earn” anything in the first place would be an interesting question to ponder], as a justification of the faith I'd put in the author to bring us, his audience, through this story cleanly, to make us reflect on a cycle, on the ambiguities of devotion and self-abnegation, and not simply sift through the story threads like an aimless, if pleasant, dream. "Amor Divino," by Julia Alvarez (1997): 7 - Treacly muck, with some solid characterization and good writing, but that otherwise little examines or acknowledges the class implications of its characters and is, more distractingly, some Fiery Latina essentialism run amok.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Linda Hayashi

    The eight short stories from the continent of Africa included in the international anthology "The Art of the Story" edited by Daniel Halpern can be viewed through the protocol of postcolonialism, poststructuralism and postmodernism. These ideological posts or pillars support the identification of the who, how, and why. As these formalities are also nested within the origins, reactions, and development of a singular or collective voice, the emerging narrative acclimates as culture and knowledge. The eight short stories from the continent of Africa included in the international anthology "The Art of the Story" edited by Daniel Halpern can be viewed through the protocol of postcolonialism, poststructuralism and postmodernism. These ideological posts or pillars support the identification of the who, how, and why. As these formalities are also nested within the origins, reactions, and development of a singular or collective voice, the emerging narrative acclimates as culture and knowledge. The short stories collected in the anthology span 28 years from 1969 to 1997. Each story is from a generation affected by the occupation of their homeland by foreign exploits. Each story has struggle and injustice, the essential and familiar territory of fiction. The stories cast an individual or subjective voice asserting self-possession, diminishing the presence of alterity or The Other, such as the impositions of objectification, banishment, and more broadly “influences” from outside the self. The reader that is separated from an author because of “remoteness, arbitrariness,” and language is connected when literature is utilized as a cognitive agent, rectifying isolation or abandonment (Bruner, 97). Understanding the stories of others decreases the inherent ignorance of ego- and geo-centrism and facilitates connectivity and empathy thereby expanding and recapitulating knowledge. This cyclical and de-centralizing “rhizomatic” operant also bypasses and subverts (Gilles and Guattari, 37). It is antithetical to the closed systems of denial, censorship or mortality. An author has a limited life, whereas his stories are immortal. The expectancy is that stories be told. Epistemological coherence requires a constant multitude of narratives from the universal audience since not listening or silence is anti-humanitarian.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Alan Lindsay

    Worthy sequel to The Art of the Tale. Again a number of distracting typos, and a narrower editorial sensibility than I would have liked--the excuse for leaving out Pynchon for example makes no sense, nor is there even a mention of John Barth, who belongs here (along with a number of others). The book is more diverse than The Art of the Tale but still heavily weighted toward the United States. Several writers are needlessly repeated from the first volume. It's easy to find editorial choices to qu Worthy sequel to The Art of the Tale. Again a number of distracting typos, and a narrower editorial sensibility than I would have liked--the excuse for leaving out Pynchon for example makes no sense, nor is there even a mention of John Barth, who belongs here (along with a number of others). The book is more diverse than The Art of the Tale but still heavily weighted toward the United States. Several writers are needlessly repeated from the first volume. It's easy to find editorial choices to quarrel with. But the stories themselves are universally excellent. If you like short stories, this book will probably introduce you to writers you might not otherwise ever find.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Nanako Mizushima

    This 700 page book is too heavy to leave my bedside table so I've been dipping into it over the past year, reading one short story at a time. It is a great collection of contemporary writers (born after 1937) from thirty-five different countries with distinctive voices. As I struggle to write my own short stories, it's been a big help to read other writers and see how they craft their writing. The last story "Helix" by Banana Yoshimoto was a lovely little piece about memory. The translation of h This 700 page book is too heavy to leave my bedside table so I've been dipping into it over the past year, reading one short story at a time. It is a great collection of contemporary writers (born after 1937) from thirty-five different countries with distinctive voices. As I struggle to write my own short stories, it's been a big help to read other writers and see how they craft their writing. The last story "Helix" by Banana Yoshimoto was a lovely little piece about memory. The translation of her work reads, "For all couples in love, there comes a moment when a man gazes at a woman with the very same kind of realization. It is an infinite helix, the dance of two souls resonating like the twist of DNA, like the vast universe."

  23. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    Amazing anthology. Granted, there has been time for these stories to rise to the top and be included in an anthology like this, but still, there was something to be had from each one. My favorite favorites: "In Amalfi" by Ann Beattie "Rara Avis" by T. Coraghessan Boyle "Mr. Green" by Robert Olen Butler "Are These Actual Miles?" by Raymond Carver "The Old Man Slave and the Mastiff" by Patrick Chamoiseau "Never Marry a Mexican" by Sandra Cisneros "The Prospect from the Silver Hills" by Jim Crace "Talking Amazing anthology. Granted, there has been time for these stories to rise to the top and be included in an anthology like this, but still, there was something to be had from each one. My favorite favorites: "In Amalfi" by Ann Beattie "Rara Avis" by T. Coraghessan Boyle "Mr. Green" by Robert Olen Butler "Are These Actual Miles?" by Raymond Carver "The Old Man Slave and the Mastiff" by Patrick Chamoiseau "Never Marry a Mexican" by Sandra Cisneros "The Prospect from the Silver Hills" by Jim Crace "Talking Dog" by Francine Prose "Learning to Swim" by Graham Swift "The Farm" by Joy Williams Awesome. Takes a while to get through, but awesome. Deserves a higher average rating.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Uzma Aslam Khan

    I appreciate that this anthology, unlike most anthologies printed in the U.S., includes writers from around the world. Among the gems discovered here: Patrick Chamoiseau, "The Old Man Slave and the Mastiff." Each reading leaves me astounded by the impossibility of its scope, in so few pages. Surely no other work has better captured how we carry horror and trauma in our bodies. Column McCann, "Everything in this Country Must." Toni Cade Bambara, "Gorilla, My Love." Lydia Davis, "The House Behind." I appreciate that this anthology, unlike most anthologies printed in the U.S., includes writers from around the world. Among the gems discovered here: Patrick Chamoiseau, "The Old Man Slave and the Mastiff." Each reading leaves me astounded by the impossibility of its scope, in so few pages. Surely no other work has better captured how we carry horror and trauma in our bodies. Column McCann, "Everything in this Country Must." Toni Cade Bambara, "Gorilla, My Love." Lydia Davis, "The House Behind." Kazuo Ishiguro, "A Family Supper." Nuruddin Farah, "My Father, the Englishman, and I." Edwidge Danticat "Night Women." Edward P. Jones "The First Day."

  25. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    I'm so glad that my teacher of "Reading Like A Writer" chose this anthology of short stories for our class. I learned a ton about my own writing through analyzing craft techniques such as family, place, and dialogue, of other writers. This collection is now a night stand staple, which I can't wait to revisit time and time again. I'm so glad that my teacher of "Reading Like A Writer" chose this anthology of short stories for our class. I learned a ton about my own writing through analyzing craft techniques such as family, place, and dialogue, of other writers. This collection is now a night stand staple, which I can't wait to revisit time and time again.

  26. 5 out of 5

    DilanAc

    Very diverse anthology. All the established short story writers in English plus many in translation. Some stories I hate and can't imagine how they were included but most of them I like and some I love. Most of them tend to be on the shorter side even for short stories, not micro fiction, but nothing close to novellas either. Very diverse anthology. All the established short story writers in English plus many in translation. Some stories I hate and can't imagine how they were included but most of them I like and some I love. Most of them tend to be on the shorter side even for short stories, not micro fiction, but nothing close to novellas either.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    This is the best collection of international short stories that I have ever read. It's quite comprehensive and each story is fantastic. I went to the store looking for another anthology of equal quality but none exists. When I die, I want to be buried with this book. Just kidding. This is the best collection of international short stories that I have ever read. It's quite comprehensive and each story is fantastic. I went to the store looking for another anthology of equal quality but none exists. When I die, I want to be buried with this book. Just kidding.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Deja

    Harvested this for an anthology I'm helping with. I only read the short ones (under 7 pages or so), but I liked much of what I read. A lot of mediocre stuff, but a lot of really delicious stuff, too. Harvested this for an anthology I'm helping with. I only read the short ones (under 7 pages or so), but I liked much of what I read. A lot of mediocre stuff, but a lot of really delicious stuff, too.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Evangeline

    I cannot give this book a fair official rating as i only read about four stories before returning it to the library, but the stories i read were interesting and i think i'd give them an average rating of about 3 stars. I cannot give this book a fair official rating as i only read about four stories before returning it to the library, but the stories i read were interesting and i think i'd give them an average rating of about 3 stars.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Skye

    Meh. Not the best anthology especially for an 'International Anthology.' I'm hopeful that we will one day see Scribner's international anthology. The reason for the 3 stars is that there are some good stories in here. Meh. Not the best anthology especially for an 'International Anthology.' I'm hopeful that we will one day see Scribner's international anthology. The reason for the 3 stars is that there are some good stories in here.

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