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Short Stories & the Best Books of 2002
Well, it's the end of the year 2002, and the editors have made their lists once again, so, for fun, collectedstories.com checks them twice, to find out what short stories were noted as being particularly nice.

Here are the stories to watch out for, from our favorite "Best of" book lists: The New York Times "Notable Books 2002," the Los Angeles Times "Best Books of 2002" and the "25 Favorite Books of the Year" from the Village Voice.

Alice Adams, The Stories of Alice Adams (Knopf)
NY Times

Isaac Babel, The Complete Works of Isaac Babel (W.W. Norton)
NY Times

Murray Bail, Camouflage: Stories (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
NY Times

Andrea Barrett, Servants of the Map: Stories (W.W. Norton)
NY Times

Rick Bass, The Hermit's Story: Stories (Houghton Mifflin)
LA Times

Alan Bennett, The Laying on of Hands: Stories (Picador)
NY Times

Clare Boylan, The Collected Stories (Counterpoint Press)
NY Times

Stephen Raleigh Byler, Searching for Intruders: A Novel in Stories (William Morrow)
NY Times

Robert Cohen, The Varieties of Romantic Experience: Stories (Scribner)
NY Times

Ron Carlson, At the Jim Bridger: Stories (Picador)
LA Times

Anthony Doerr, The Shell Collector: Stories (Scribner)
NY Times

book
Richard Ford, A Multitude of Sins: Stories (Knopf)
LA Times, NY Times
Love, and our frequent failure to meet its challenges, is the subject of Richard Ford's wonderfully insightful collection of short stories, A Multitude of Sins. The understated prose is shot through with an incisive, empathetic, and not at all cynical understanding of the psyche of Middle America, with which fans of Ford's previous novels, The Sportswriter and its Pulitzer Prize-winning sequel, Independence Day, will be familiar. These stories are inhabited by characters for whom love has become a moral maze rather than a clearly defined path towards fulfillment. --Jane Morris, Amazon.co.uk

book
Adam Haslett, You Are Not a Stranger Here (Nan A. Talese/Doubleday)
NY Times, Village Voice
A debut collection, nine stories in all, that received much publicity after being named the second installment of the "Today Book Club." Haslett, an MFA graduate of Iowa Writers' Workshop, is currently a law student at Yale. His writing is dark, exploring human suffering -- grief, loneliness, etc., -- yet there is humor at times and always depth with an extreme range in character, from a widower to a teenage boy, from middle-aged siblings to a bereaved mother. Haslett was one of only 11 New Yorkers chosen by New York Magazine (and the only choice in the fiction category) for the 2002 New York Awards that aim to name those who "not only gave their best but also brought out the best in New York." Jay McInerney writes in the magazine that with the You Are Not a Stranger debut, "Haslett arrives from out of nowhere sounding like a master," and continues the praise, asking, "How many lives has this guy led? Is he the love child of William Trevor and Eudora Welty?"

Patricia Highsmith, Nothing That Meets the Eye: The Uncollected Stories of Patricia Highsmith (W.W. Norton)
NY Times

A.M. Homes, Things You Should Know: A Collection of Stories (HarperCollins)
NY Times

Gabe Hudson, Dear Mr. President: Stories (Knopf)
Village Voice

Andrea Lee, Interesting Women: Stories (Random House)
NY Times

James McCourt, Wayfaring at Waverly in Silver Lake: Stories (Knopf)
LA Times

Maile Meloy, Half in Love: Stories (Scribner)
NY Times

book
Haruki Murakami, After the Quake: Stories (Knopf)
NY Times, Village Voice
Haruki Murakami, a writer both mystical and hip, is the West's favorite Japanese novelist. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Murakami lived abroad until 1995. That year, two disasters struck Japan: the lethal earthquake in Kobe and the deadly poison gas attacks in the Tokyo subway. Spurred by these tragic events, Murakami returned home. The stories in After the Quake are set in the months that fell between the earthquake and the subway attack, presenting a world marked by despair, hope, and a kind of human instinct for transformation. A teenage girl and a middle-aged man share a hobby of making beach bonfires; a businesswoman travels to Thailand and, quietly, confronts her own death; three friends act out a modern-day Tokyo version of Jules and Jim. There's a surreal element running through the collection in the form of unlikely frogs turning up in unlikely places. News of the earthquake hums throughout. The book opens with the dull buzz of disaster-watching: "Five straight days she spent in front of the television, staring at the crumbled banks and hospitals, whole blocks of stores in flames, severed rail lines and expressways." With language that's never self-consciously lyrical or show-offy, Murakami constructs stories as tight and beautiful as poems. There's no turning back for his people; there's only before and after the quake. --Claire Dederer, Amazon.com

Antonya Nelson, Female Trouble: A Collection of Short Stories (Scribner)
NY Times

Mark Jude Poirier, Unsung Heroes of American Industry: Stories (TALK Miramax)
NY Times

Mary Robison, Tell Me: 30 Stories (Counterpoint Press)
NY Times

Joseph Roth, The Collected Stories of Joseph Roth (W.W. Norton)
LA Times

Richard Russo, The Whore's Child: And Other Stories (Knopf)
NY Times

Sam Shepard, Great Dream of Heaven: Stories (Knopf)
NY Times

Edith Templeton, The Darts of Cupid and Other Stories (Pantheon)
NY Times

Lily Tuck, Limbo, and Other Places I Have Lived: Stories (HarperCollins)
NY Times

note
Of the 147 Fiction & Poetry titles listed by the NY Times as "high points in this year's fiction,"
23 were story collections.
Of the 49 works of fiction chosen as the best of 2002 by the LA Times, 5 were short story collections.
Of the 25 Favorite Books of the Year from the Village Voice, three were story collections.

collectedstories.com is in association with Amazon.com, title links refer to Amazon reviews. Out-of-print titles may refer to Powells.com
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