Tuesday, May 08, 2012

More from 2012 O Henry Awards

kw: continued review, short stories, story reviews, collections

Herewith, notes on five more of the stories in The PEN/O. Henry Prize Stories for 2012.
  • Kindness by Yiyun Li – As long as any three of the others in the volume. A retrospective by a self-contained, middle-aged Chinese woman of her army years, and of those who thought they were being kind, and a few who were genuinely kind to her.
  • Phantoms by Steven Millhauser – An odd treatment of seeing imaginary folk.
  • Boys Town by Jim Shepard – Ought to be subtitled "The making of a psychopath". Inside the mind of someone different from most of us, the kind that people always say later, "He was so quiet." The title refers to an old movie with Spencer Tracy and Mickey Rooney.
  • The Hare's Mask by Mark Slouka – A boy learning what his father went through growing up, resulting in a phobia about rabbits.
  • Eyewall by Lauren Groff – A hurricane story, but most of it takes place in the imagination of the protagonist, who has chosen to ride out the storm.
A characteristic of all these five is that they draw you into a world you didn't know before.

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