Monday, April 06, 2009

The American short story

Interesting feature in the New York Times about the American short story. The talk is always about the 'Great American Novel', of course, but A.O. Scott usefully reminds us that there have been some mighty fine American short story writers, too. The article is provoked by the coincidence of three recent biographies of writers for whom the short form was their forte. Flannery O'Connor, Donald Barthelme and John Cheever wrote some astoundingly good short stories, in remarkably different styles. The article could have been a bit longer, but it ends on a note of hopefulness, suggesting an upturn in the fortunes of the short story. Not before time.

(I have to say, though, that any reviewer in the New York Times who still uses the word limn in their reviews is pretty brave. Remember this?)

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