The Best American Short Stories 2005 share button
Michael Chabon
Format Paperback
Dimensions 5.50 (w) x 8.25 (h) x 1.06 (d)
Pages 432
Publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication Date October 2005
ISBN 9780618427055
Book ISBN 10 0618427058
About Book

The Best American Series First, Best, and Best-Selling

The Best American series has been the premier annual showcase for the country's finest short fiction and nonfiction since 1915. Each volume's series editor selects notable works from hundreds of periodicals. A special guest editor, a leading writer in the field, then chooses the very best twenty or so pieces to publish. This unique system has made the Best American series the most respected—and most popular—of its kind.

The Best American Short Stories 2005 includes

Dennis Lehane • Tom Perrotta • Alice Munro • Edward P. Jones • Joy Williams • Joyce Carol Oates • Thomas McGuane • Kelly Link • Charles D'Ambrosio • Cory Doctorow • George Saunders • and others

Michael Chabon, guest editor, is the best-selling author of The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, Wonder Boys, A Model World, and, most recently, The Final Solution. His novel The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay won the Pulitzer Prize in 2000.


Publishers Weekly

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.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

Kirkus Reviews

The always-excellent Houghton Mifflin "Best," with an entertaining twist. Chabon offers a refreshing defense of "entertainment" in the introduction, arguing that determining the "best" stories is impossible. He instead presents those that simply pleased him most. The collection draws heavily from the requisite publications (the New Yorker, etc.) and the MFA feedline. Up-and-comers are rare. Working through the plentiful fractured-middle-class-family tales, we meet creepy animals (Kelly Link's lovely, haunted "Stone Animals" and David Mean's philosophy-infused "Secret Goldfish") and even creepier people (Joy Williams's razor-sharp strangeness in "The Girls" and Nathaniel Bellows's tender portrait of loneliness and near-pedophilia, "First Four Measures"), as well as more straightforward, beautifully realized characters, from Tom Perotta, Lynne Sharon Schwartz and the short form's impresario, Alice Munro. An equal number of stories feature exiles and the down-and-out and. Of these, Edward P. Jones's gritty, heartfelt prison tale "Old Boys, Old Girls" and Charles D'Ambrosio's spooky, endearing drifters in "The Scheme of Things" are notable, as are the immigrant tales from Rishi Reddi and David Bezmozgis. Linguistic innovation is evident throughout, from Reddi's striking rendition of Indian English to the musical speech of George Saunders's wonderful "Bohemians." Genre-bending also appears throughout, at its best in the Calvino-esque series of parables in J. Robert Lennon's "Eight Pieces for the Left Hand," and the good humor of Tim Pratt's Wild West fantasy "Hart and Boot." Indeed, humor-from black-gallows to gentle chuckles-leavens the entire collection. Even when repetitive (two storiesabout neurotical, sensitive piano-playing young boys?), the offerings are consistently interesting and often wonderfully weird.