Object Lessons: The Art of the Short Story, edited by Lorin and Sadie Stein, 2012
The 20 short stories in this book were selected and introduced by a Paris Review short story writer who was asked to choose a personal favorite story from the archives and to describe the key to its success as a work of fiction. The result is quite wonderful as writers such as Lydia Davis, Joy Williams, and Norman Rush appear as both an introducer and a selected story author. The stories from the ’60’s to 2010, vary from the fantastic to the realistic, from very brief (see Lydia Davis) to quite long. My favorite was the Palace Thief by Ethan Canin. Many familiar and acknowledged masters here–Borges, Salter, Barthelme, and Carver— and many new to me are present. Bottom line is that the Paris Review, founded in 1953 by Peter Mathiesson and George Plimpton, continues under only its third editor in 64 years to publish creative and cutting edge fiction, poetry, and essays. Their Interviews with Writers, now published in four separate volumes, is a classic and this volume of short stories is a worthy addition to their oeuvre.