Archive for the The Pushcart Book of Short Stories (Ed. by Bill Henderson) Category

Rick Moody. The Mansion on the Hill.

Posted in Short Stories, The Pushcart Book of Short Stories (Ed. by Bill Henderson) with tags , , , on May 1, 2009 by Richard Farrell

A man takes a job at the “Mansion”, a converted house that is used to run multiple weddings.  Strange, humorous story.  Good characters and memorable images.

David Jauss. Glossolalia.

Posted in Short Stories, The Pushcart Book of Short Stories (Ed. by Bill Henderson) with tags , , on May 1, 2009 by Richard Farrell

A man reflects back on the shame he felt as a teen when his father had a complete breakdown.  Interesting structure…looking back from a long distance…simmering problem but not one that explodes.  Lingering effect of the boy’s failure into the rest of his life.

Steven Milhauser. Paradise Park.

Posted in Short Stories, The Pushcart Book of Short Stories (Ed. by Bill Henderson) with tags , , on April 28, 2009 by Richard Farrell

Strange amusement park grows into subterranean artistic dream in this story.  Set in NYC in the early 20th C., Milhauser makes the park a character itself, or at least a canvas to tell this story.  Very little conflict except for the architect’s mad vision for this park and the eventual rejection by the crowds he sets out to please.

Colum McCann. As Kingfishers Catch Fire.

Posted in Short Stories, The Pushcart Book of Short Stories (Ed. by Bill Henderson) with tags , , , , , on March 27, 2009 by Richard Farrell

A woman (Rhiannon Ryan) leaves her village to join the Korean War.  The village hails her heroics and waits for her letters home, once indicating that she has met a soldier and will bring him home.  She is kind, giving, full of love, and as her heroics grow, the village waits expectantly for her return.  She does come back but she is pregnant.  Because they assume that her soldier was an American, the shock of finding a half-Korean baby is too much and she is ostracized.  The kingfisher, birds she saw in Korea, come on the day she had died, heralding a life lived outside the tiny constraints of traditionalism.

Patricia Hampl. The Bill Collector’s Vacation.

Posted in Short Stories, The Pushcart Book of Short Stories (Ed. by Bill Henderson) with tags , , , , , , on March 27, 2009 by Richard Farrell

Seemingly simple story about a woman who goes to the bank to the bill, meets a man sitting waiting for the bank to open, and begins to talk with him.  Though very little happens on the surface, there appears to be a significant pull on this woman behind in subtext.  When her husband drives by, her hesitation speaks to a tranformation, an epiphany, that has taken place.

Wally Lamb. Astronauts.

Posted in Short Stories, The Pushcart Book of Short Stories (Ed. by Bill Henderson) on February 26, 2009 by Richard Farrell

Split narrations (student/teacher/student).  Story of a boy who is the source of angst for a teacher and the boyfriend/father for a pregnant student.   Good use of different voices.  Title is interesting too, since the astronaut image only directly appears in the opening scene.   Would be useful to look more closely at this story.

Ken Kalfus. PU-239.

Posted in Short Stories, The Pushcart Book of Short Stories (Ed. by Bill Henderson) on February 26, 2009 by Richard Farrell

Sad story of Timofey, a worker in a Russian nuclear plant who is exposed to a lethal dose of radiation at work.  He smuggles out some plutonium (weapons grade) and attempts to sell it on the blackmarket in Moscow.   There, he runs into a ruthless, small time crook who kills  Timofey and steals the vile of radioactive material.  This thief is betrayed by his two accomplices who end up snorting the white powder mistaking it for drugs.  Good example of scientific/technical writing as well as foreign ideas/images.