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  Short Story Collection Review    

New Stories from The South: The Year's Best, 2002
Edited by Shannon Ravenel
with a preface by Larry Brown
Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill
paperback, $14.95 (327pp)
ISBN: 1-56512-375-1

New Stories from The South, 2002, marks Shannon Ravenel's seventeenth year as editor of the anthology that's come to be one of the most anticipated titles on Algonquin's booklist.

The current edition includes nineteen stories by: Dwight Allen, Russell Banks, Brad Barkley, Doris Betts, William Gay, Aaron Gwyn, Ingrid Hill, David Koon, Andrea Lee, Romulus Linney, Corey Mesler, Lucia Nevai, Julie Orringer, Dulane Upshaw Ponder, Bill Roorbach, George Singleton, Kate Small, R.T. Smith, and  Max Steele. As always, Ravenel has blended stories first published in the literary magazines, both regional, national, and international, as well as stories originally published in New York stalwarts Esquire and The Atlantic Monthly

In his introduction, Larry Brown writes, "I think every story starts from the character, from imagining a person in a place with something going on.... How they arrived there is the question. The rest of it is piecing those lives together ...." All of the authors selected for inclusion in this anthology have written compelling, thoughtful stories filled with survival, hardships, humor, grief, unspoken apprehensions, remembrances, and intelligence. The editor has wisely avoided the "quirky" creating a strong installment in southern literature.

Shannon Ravenel, a native of Charleston, South Carolina, was the series editor of The Best American Short Stories for fourteen years before she inaugurated the New Stories from the South series. The director of Shannon Ravenel Books, an Algonquin imprint, she lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.


Pam Kingsbury
Southern Scribe Reviews


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