The Penguin Book of the Modern American Short Story

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A selection of the best and most representative contemporary American short fiction from 1970 to 2020, including such authors as Ursula K. LeGuin, Toni Cade Bambara, Jhumpa Lahiri, Sandra Cisneros, and Ted Chiang, hand-selected by celebrated editor and anthologist John Freeman

In the past fifty years, the American short story has changed dramatically. New voices, forms, and mixtures of styles have brought this unique genre a thrilling burst of energy. The Penguin Book of the Modern American Short Story celebrates this avalanche of talent.
 
This rich anthology begins in 1970 and brings together a half century of powerful American short stories from all genres, including—for the first time in a collection of this scale—science fiction, horror, and fantasy, placing writers such as Ursula K. Le Guin, Ken Liu, and Stephen King next to some beloved greats of the literary form: Raymond Carver, Grace Paley, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and Denis Johnson. Culling widely, John Freeman, the former editor of Granta and now editor of his own literary annual, brings forward some astonishing work to be regarded in a new light. Often overlooked tales by Dorothy Allison, Percival Everett, and Charles Johnson will recast the shape and texture of today’s enlarging atmosphere of literary dialogue. Stories by Lauren Groff and Ted Chiang raise the specter of engagement in ecocidal times. Short tales by Tobias Wolff, George Saunders, and Lydia Davis rub shoulders with near novellas by Susan Sontag and Andrew Holleran. This book will be a treasure trove for readers, writers, and teachers alike.

Praise

“Freeman’s excellent introduction to this new anthology of modern short stories will be useful to readers who are unfamiliar with the format; for students of the short story, it’s a refreshing overview . . . a short story for any mood. . . . This anthology sets itself apart by providing an inclusive starting point for readers interested in discovering the power of the short story; it is golden for those who already recognize that power.” Library Journal (starred)

“A well-selected anthology of short fiction, ranging from long to flash, representing the last half-century . . . A fresh gathering that highlights the work of mostly well-known story writers through their lesser-known works.” Kirkus

Liberation Day

Booker Prize winner George Saunders returns with a collection of short stories that grapple with the complexities of our increasingly troubled world, his first since the New York Times bestseller… More