Friday, October 03, 2008

Fresh Fiction: Best New American Voices 2009

Has anyone read the latest edition of the Best New American Voices anthology? For those who aren't familiar with the volume, Best New American Voices is an annual showcase of stories culled from the nation's workshops, conferences, and writing programs.

The stories here span a broad range of subjects and forms, and offer an excellent opportunity to get a sense of the caliber of writing being produced by these programs. This year's anthology, guest edited by Mary Gaitskill, is one of the best in recent memory, and puts to rest those old notions that creative writing classes produce homogenized, "workshop" stories.

Highlights include Theodore Wheeler's story, "Welcome Home," about a veteran returning from Iraq, as well as Will Boast's "Weather Enough," which follows a young man home to his small Wisconsin town after his brother's death.

Personally, I'm a little partial to "Salvation Army," a piece by Purdue's own Mehdi Tavana Okasi, which tells the story of an Iranian teacher who flees with her sons to Massachusetts where she contemplates the fates of her former students.

It's a truly fantastic collection. Find it at your local, independent bookstore!


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