Archive for the The Best American Short Stories 2008 (Ed. by Salman Rushdie) Category

Christine Sneed. Quality of Life.

Posted in Short Stories, The Best American Short Stories 2008 (Ed. by Salman Rushdie) with tags , , , on May 18, 2009 by Richard Farrell

A young woman uproots her life out of devotion for the mysterious Mr. Fulger, a man considerably older than she is.  The seduction seems to be as much about what is missing from her life as it does from what she is attracted to in Mr. Fulger.

Tobias Wolfe. Bible.

Posted in Short Stories, The Best American Short Stories 2008 (Ed. by Salman Rushdie) with tags , , , , on April 24, 2009 by Richard Farrell

A high school teacher is car-jacked by her student’s father.  The boy, Hassan, was caught cheating on a test.  Maureen sends him out and threatens to tell the headmaster of the school for expulsion.  The father has intervened, attempting to stop this teacher and save his son.

Mark Wisniewski. Straightaway.

Posted in Short Stories, The Best American Short Stories 2008 (Ed. by Salman Rushdie) with tags , , , , on April 24, 2009 by Richard Farrell

Three men have been hired to dispose of a woman’s oil-drum with unknown contents, possibly containing a body.  Tre has tried to live a clean life, avoiding trouble with the law, but the money is tempting.   This money represents a new start for the men, but i’ts not enough to ensure a safe getaway, so they go to the track to bet it on a trifecta.  Chance, uncertainty and fate play roles.

Alice Munro. Child’s Play.

Posted in Short Stories, The Best American Short Stories 2008 (Ed. by Salman Rushdie) with tags , , , , on April 20, 2009 by Richard Farrell

A woman looks back on her childhood and the starange effect that her neigbhor Verna had on her.  Verna is special, and has taken a special interest in the narrartor Marlene.  The word special resonates in this story.   When Verna is around, Marlene feels threatened; when she shows up at a summer camp, the outcome resonates throughout the life of Marlene and her friend Charlene.   Very interesting for POV  & time issues;  deals with childhood without sentimentality or obvious devices.

Karen Russell. Vampires in the Lemon Grove.

Posted in Short Stories, The Best American Short Stories 2008 (Ed. by Salman Rushdie) with tags , , , on April 11, 2009 by Richard Farrell

A vampire lives in the lemon groves of Sorento, sucking lemons instead of blood.  Looks at mythology and culture.  Teen girl befriends the vampire until he gives in to a blood lust and kills her.   The vampire also is in love with a female vampire that teaches him how to live.

George Saunders. Puppy.

Posted in Short Stories, The Best American Short Stories 2008 (Ed. by Salman Rushdie) with tags , , , , , on April 11, 2009 by Richard Farrell

The purchase of a puppy as seen through the eyes of two mothers, one privileged and upper middle class, the other poor and living in squalor.  Their lives intersect only in the sale of the puppy, which does not occur because the wealthy woman can’t accept what she sees in this place: a boy tied to a tree.  What she fails to see is that the boy is tied because he runs away, escpaes into traffic, and that this mother really does love her son.

Steve Millhauser. The Wizzard of West Orange.

Posted in Short Stories, The Best American Short Stories 2008 (Ed. by Salman Rushdie) on February 14, 2009 by Richard Farrell

Great example of over-tones (or undertones).  Appears to be straight-forward story of a research librarian working in TA Edison’s lab in the late 19th C.   The narrator uses a diary-style entry to document the things he sees, but slowly we get sucked into the invention that won’t succeed, the haptograph.  The haptograph simulates cutaneous sensations by applying electrical impulses on a rotating punch-wheel that then forces tiny needles to touch the skin and thereby create artificial sensations. As the narrator/librarian is brought into the experiments, he becomes enraptured by the artificial feelings the machine creates and begins to envision an artificial world of sensations.  The implications to our own age are clear, yet never stated.  The author uses parallels and askew references to create a veiled cautionary tale.  We live the life envisioned in the story, but not on our skin.  The fact that Earnshaw so violently rejects the haptograph and later destroys it, possibly under Edison’s directive, indicates that all that we gain w/ technology might not be for the greater good.

Interesting in it’s use of distance and time.  Also, the story is told with seemingly simple reporting style form but the larger issues hover beneath the surface.  Useful to look at for form/structure and the movement of the story in time/space.