Book Review: Object Lessons: The Paris Review Presents the Art of the Short Story: Edited by Lori Stein and Sadi Stein

objectlessonstrim Title: Object Lessons: The Paris Review Presents the Art of the Short Story
Edited by: Lori Stein and Sadie Stein
Publisher: Picador USA
ISBN: 978-1250005984
Genre: Short Story
Pages: 368
Source: Publisher
Rating: 5/5

There is nothing like a good short story to put you to bed. Where probably you might dream of them and the words that you read. I love the genre of the short story. It has so much to say and yet so restrained, giving the reader a chance to think and imagine a lot more than what a novel is capable of. A lot of publications (in the sense magazines) compile and publish short stories and I couldn’t be more grateful to them for doing that. One such publication is, ‘The Paris Review’. It is one of the best; in fact I will go out and say that it is the best that is there in terms of a literary magazine, covering every spectrum – from fiction to poetry to interviews to of course the short story.

It is but obviously ‘The Paris Review’ that has come out with a compilation of short stories (published by Picador USA). I loved the book. What I loved more so was the introduction to each story. Each story has been selected by a famous writer. A story of another writer, that means a lot to him or her (the selector). Every story has a personal preface to it which makes the read even more interesting and joyous.

There are twenty stories in the book. The writers are well-known and so are the selectors. Of course I had my favourites as I finished the book. Raymond Carver’s, “Why Don’t You Dance,” Bernard Cooper’s, “Old Birds,” Jane Bowles’ (I am shocked to know that most people haven’t heard of her) “Emmy Moore’s Journal,” and “Ten Stories from Flaubert” by Lydia Davis. I loved the others as well; however these four came out to be clear winners.

I had read these stories earlier (at least most of them), however reading them again with a fresh perspective (also mingled with the view of the selector) was a different experience. The stories are tight and know where they want to go. For a new reader, this collection well be worth keeping and referring to time and again, for the craft of the short story and also for the stories themselves.

If you have an affinity for short stories, then this is the book for you. Somewhere down the line, you will pick your own favourites as well. There are but obviously some amazing reads waiting for you in these pages.

Stories by: Donald Barthelme, Jorge Luis Borges, Jane Bowles, Ethan Canin, Raymond Carver, Evan S. Connell, Bernard Cooper, Guy Davenport, Lydia Davis, Thomas Glynn, Mary-Beth Hughes, Denis Johnson, Leonard Michaels, Steven Millhauser, Craig Nova, Mary Robison, Norman Rush, James Salter, Dallas Wiebe, Joy Williams

Comments by: Daniel Alarcon, Ann Beattie, David Bezmozgis, Lydia Davis, Dave Eggers, Jeffrey Eugenides, Mary Gaitskill, Aleksandar Hemon, Amy Hempel, Jonathan Lethem, Sam Lipsyte, Ben Marcus, David Means, Lorrie Moore, Daniel Orozco, Norman Rush, Mona Simpson, Ali Smith, Wells Tower, Joy Williams.

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