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The Granta Book of the American Short Story, Volume 2 (Paperback)
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Richard Ford, one of the finest American novelists and short-story writers, introduced the first Granta Book of the American Short Story, which Granta Books published in 1992. It became the definitive anthology of American short fiction written in the last half of the twentieth century. In the fourteen years since, Ford has been reading new stories and rereading old ones and selecting new favourites. This new collection, again of more than forty writers, expands Ford's original choice to include stories that he regretted overlooking first time around as well as many by a new generation of writers, among them Sherman Alexie, Junot Diaz, Deborah Eisenberg, Nell Freudenberg, Matt Klam, Jhumpa Lahiri and Z. Z. Packer. None of the stories (though a few of the writers) was in the first volume. Published to critical acclaim in hardback in 2007, this book is an essential companion volume to the first collection.
About the Author
Richard Ford's story collections include Rock Springs, Women Without Men, and A Multitude of Sins. His novel Independence Day was the first novel to win both the PEN/Faulkner Award and the Pulitzer Prize. His latest novel, The Lay of the Land, was published in 2006.
‘There is no better introduction to the modern American short story on the market. Nor is there, I would argue, any better introduction to modern America. In story after story one is within touching distance of the real America, with its manifold dysfunctions, destructive disappointments and quotidian glamour ... What each offers is a compelling, convincing voice and a world freshly articulated. This is a collection to revel in and savour slowly, one story at a time’ Alan Taylor, (28.10.07)Sunday Herald ‘A marvellous collection ... a collection to be read, reckoned with and possibly loved’ Tom Adair, Scotsman (03.11.07)‘One of the chief pleasures of this extensive volume lies in rediscovering the old. I defy anyone not to reel with delight at John Cheever's heartbreaking but hilarious 'Reunion' ... Ranging back and forth across decades, expansive in its scope and ambition, this is a book far more capable of demonstrating the short story's variety and strangeness ... Ford's is the long view, seriously considered, full of nuance and detail and heritage’ Alex Clark, Observer(11.11.07) ‘The latest in a distinguished sequence of similar anthologies published in the past 15 years, beginning with Granta's original Book of the American Short Story ... More original, and more invigorating, is Ford's focus on the younger authors. the new Granta book features seven writers under the age of 40, all of their stories worth reading, some of them unforgettable’ Tobias Hill, The Times(10.11.07) ‘Formidable ... the New Granta Book is quite a triumph’ Tim Martin, Independent on Sunday(11.11.07) ‘The stories that Ford picks are all about consequence. They're about moments, and places, outside the normal run of things - turning points in lives that occur, often rather casually, and sometimes unnoticed for years, when routines are broken ... Many of the volumes from which Ford assembled this collection are, shockingly, out of print. They are well worth seeking out’ Kasia Boddy, Telegraph(10.11.07) ‘**** Like its predecessor 15 years ago, there is something reassuringly old-fashioned about the New Granta Book of the American Short Story ... this is more about celebrating brilliant individual stories than delineating the cutting edge ... and above all a guaranteed short, good read, ideal for moments of bedtime crisis’ Jonathan Gibbs, Metro(08.11.07) ‘Quietly wonderful ... [a] splendid anthology’ Bill Broun, TLS(09.11.07) ‘One of Ford's strengths as an anthologist is that he isn't allergic to the obvious ... There's an unapologetic greatest-hits aspect to many of Ford's choices, meaning that at some level the book can't go too far wrong’ Christopher Tayler, Guardian(17.11.07) ‘There are many worse choices for your desert island book than this anthology of American short fiction ... Everyone will have their own favourites’ Lottie Moggach, thelondonpaper (13.11.07) ‘The stories are wide ranging in both subject and style, inviting readers to dip in and out of this heavyweight selection of American short story writing’ Velocity magazine (Nov/Dec 07) ‘A best-of collection packed with talent and a variety of writing styles and topics ... Ford has more than achieved his aim; this is a gem of a collection’ Michelle Patient, Mslexia (Oct 2007) ‘This is a fine collection’ John Dugdale, Literary Review(01.12.07) ‘***** A must read for fans of the short story form’ Big Issue in Scotland (22.11.07) ‘... the definitive anthology of American short fiction written in the last half of the 20th century’ Prospect magazine crossword prize (01.12.07) ‘[Stories chosen] for their timeless qualities, their unique, self-contained worlds and the various ways in which they exemplify Ford's two prime criteria - audacity and authority’ Stephanie Merritt, New Statesman(03.12.07) ‘A treasury of new-found and re-encountered pleasures’ Joseph O'Connor, Irish Times Best Books of 2007 (01.12.07) ‘Stuffed with talent ... This is a personal and lively choice. It is a complete joy to read and, where necessary, to disagree with’ Anne Enright, Irish Times Best Books of 2007 (01.12.07) ‘When it comes to short stories, no one tells them quite like the Yanks, and few can rival Richard Ford's elegant concision ... You'd be hard pressed to find anything less than magical among these 40-plus tales’ Daily Mail Best Short Story Collectionfor Christmas (30.11.07) ‘If you pick up a single volume of the year's fiction, make it this one’ Financial Times Best Books of 2007(08.12.07) ‘Ford's 44 authors find 44 different ways of catching the precise moment when a heart is defined, a soul broken, a joy named. These are fictions that bring you right home to the size, threat and wonder of reality ... a fine reminder that short stories are somewhere we can begin to live a little, be awake, feel and speak to each other’ A. L. Kennedy, Financial Times(15.12.07) ‘It takes a great writer to see the greatness of another, and Ford chose well ... This is a selection determined by excellence, not agendas ... This is not a narrow celebration of the American short-story tradition – this is a celebration of the short-story such is the breadth of the form as still practised – and mastered – in the United States’ Eileen Battersby, Irish Times(15.12.07) ‘A lively collection full of its editor's good taste ... 44 vibrant, shocking, fresh and classic stories ... [a] thrilling and hugely encouraging collection’ Katy Guest, Independent(14.12.07) ‘As John Cheever remarked, ‘A page of good prose remains invincible’, and this weighty, 700-page volume is ample testament to the claim’ Nicholas Foxton, Time Out (2.1.08) ‘Here are riches gathered. This is a magnificent volume, admittedly making it very difficult for any other book to stand equal. Ford the reader and editor has brought the same inspired instinctive shrewdness to this 44-story selection that he does his own work’ Eileen Battersby, Irish Times (22.12.07) ‘With sparkling stories from the likes of John Cheever and Raymond Carver, this veritable literary Quality Street, edited by Richard Ford, is perfect to dip into over the holiday season’ London Lite (28.12.07) ‘Finally, a huge recommendation for The New Granta Book of the American Short Story, which is edited and introduced by Richard Ford and features outstanding short fiction … Brilliant, all 800 pages of it’ Allan Jones, Uncut, (Feb 08) ‘A collection which will provide much pleasure’ John Boland, Irish Independent (9.2.08) ‘There’s some wonderful writing in there’ Toby Litt, Word Magazine (1.3.08) ‘Granta’s first edition of this collection became the definitive anthology of this genre. This new compilation is keen to win the mantle from its predecessor. And it succeeds’ Gay Times (1.3.08) ‘Daring, discomforting, funny and tragic: a must-have for fiction lovers’ Good Book Guide (1.3.08) PAPERBACK ‘It is a mixture of the old and new, the wholly brilliant and the very rare dud… there are 44 to enjoy from some of the world’s best writers’ Toby Clements The Telegraph ‘Richard Ford harvests a new crop of American short fiction from a fertile field of writers young and old … All of these stories … make it magically appear that in the space of a few pages entire lives, as Ford says in his introduction, have turned on a dime’ Olivia Laing, The Observer ‘When Pulitzer winner Richard Ford compiled the first Granta Book of the American Short Story in 1992, it quickly became the definitive anthology of its kind … Reading this, one gets much more of a sense of America’s cultural diversity than its unity; of lots of little subcultures whose paths, except in anthologies like this, will never cross’ Alastair Mabbott, The Herald ‘Ford’s selection of 44 stories offers a reminder of some of the great postwar exponents of the form, as well as an overview of the work of more recent writers. Between them they cover a wide range of styles and subjects … A sizeable proportion of the stories deal with terrible events … Of these Robert Stone’s spare and moving Helping … is one of the best; but others … are no less impressive’ Christina Koning, The Times ‘Richard Ford has assembled an anthology showcase for 44 of America’s best practitioners of that sly sub-branch of literature, the short story … The Granta Book of the American Short Story Volume Two piles its fiction high with rich results’Colin Waters, The Sunday Herald ‘One tends to associate American writers with spaciousness rather than concision, but this bumper collection gives lie to that theory … heavyweight novelists demonstrate their mastery of the shorter form, homing in on those moments when a life pivots on a simple epiphany. It is good to get a flavour of some lesser-known American writers too’ Sally Cousins, The Sunday Telegraph ’Ford’s selection is a fine reminder that short stories are somewhere we can begin to live a little, be awake, feel and speak to each other’ A. L. Kennedy, The London Review of Books ‘A monumental testament to the inventiveness and power of short fiction’ London Review of Books (25/09/08) ‘Nothing short of a treasure trove … a litany of little literary miracles’ Hot Press Annual 2008 (Ireland). (Chosen as ‘Anthology of the Year’) ‘A good collection’ Sunday Mercury (Birmingham) (12/10/28) ‘It’s a treat to dip in to this selection of what Ford calls ‘daring little instruments’’ Psychologies (01/01/09)‘A treasure trove’ Ronan Farren, Irish Independent (14/12/08) ‘The editor has sought to give readers a collection that is ‘stylistically and intellectually diverse’ and he has succeeded … shows that the short story is far from dead’ Contemporary Review. (Winter 2008) ‘For a taste of the work of US authors from Richard Yates to ZZ Packer, pick up The Granta Book of the American Short Story’Vogue (June 2009 issue)