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Book Title: The Best American Short Stories 2003|
The author of the book: Walter Mosley
Date of issue: November 4th 2003
ISBN 13: 9780618197484
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 24.62 MB
Edition: Mariner Books
Read full description of the books The Best American Short Stories 2003:The Best American Short Stories 2003 deserves its 5 star rating. Here are three stories that reason why.
WHY THE SKY TURNS RED WHEN THE SUN GOES DOWN
Set in the future when androids, which are robots that have an entirely human appearance, can be bought, sold, and upgraded at the hospital, a husband is caught in a dilemma that concerns his son, and must make a life changing choice.
The conflict between characters is dynamic; no character remains static. The setting is beautiful, “…the ground opens up to uncultivated fields and cacti… I catch a glimpse of a coyote between the clumps of sage, golden brown and moving quickly…” This setting is juxtaposed by the anxiety and stress and sadness the characters are feeling. Harty uses clever paragraph structuring that I am going to keep in mind when writing. He ends many paragraphs that then denote a change of scene or time by leaving a character displaced. For instance, at the break on page 165 the narrator has some afflicting thoughts on his mind and ends up choosing to head downstairs alone, rather than lie in bed with his wife. This way of ending a scene occurs several times throughout the story, and each alludes to how the story itself might end, with someone estranged.
Baby Wilson follows a strange, borderline insane couple on the run after the female half, what usually is the better half, but in this case the completely insane half, kidnaps a baby from the hospital and claims it as her own.
The way the author begins the story by describing the appearance of the narrator’s girlfriend, and then introducing dialogue instead of the setting brought this image to my mind of the world swirling around the characters and only halting into existence when the character interacts with it. This ignoring of the setting they are in coincided well with the character’s delusional characteristics.
The story began to lull about halfway through for a few pages, but began to pick up quickly thereafter when the theme, and my favorite passage, is exclaimed by the narrator. “They are happy to violate such delicate confidences. They are proud to be good reporters! So the evil is going out in all directions, Karen, like radio waves from an antenna… [Karen’s response:] He* doesn’t have this baby… I have this baby…”
The characters caringly nurture the baby they’ve stolen. They seem like the real parents as the story progresses, more so than the actual parents, even though they are obviously crazy. Their dialogue and the narrator’s thoughts are the most compelling aspect of the story to the very end.
(*He refers to the person who has lied and acted as the kidnapper of the baby in order to try get a ransom from the victim’s family.)
The Bees is an ominous tale. Disturbing in the least. Chaon’s description of the narrator’s son DJ creates an unsettling atmosphere.
“Gene can remember how sometimes he would be sitting on the couch, watching TV, and he’d get a funny feeling. He’d turn his head and DJ would be at the edge of the room, with his bony spine hunched and his long neck craned, staring with those strangely oversized eyes… Other times… DJ would suddenly slide into the room, creeping up to Mandy and resting his head on her chest…”
Chaon excellently weaves Gene’s, the narrator, past, present, and dreams into a cacophony of horror and dismay. Gene has dreams and thoughts and memories that are conjoined with his current life and family, they compress as the story unfolds, forcing me to flip the pages frantically to know what happens, and an explosion of realization occurs at the climax. I was left awestruck at the conclusion. I was left with goose bumps, in horror.
Chaon uses dialogue in conjunction with character body language well, showing how upset or concerned character’s are about the weird happenings of the story.
Chaon weaves the story and seemingly unconnected characters together, while abstractly alluding to the ending with clever dreams and flashbacks all the way up to a definitive, jaw-dropping climax, and does so in only a few pages, making this my favorite story of the lot.
Read information about the authorWalter Mosley (b. 1952) is the author of the bestselling mystery series featuring Easy Rawlins, as well as numerous other works, from literary fiction and science fiction to a young adult novel and political monographs. His short fiction has been widely published, and his nonfiction has appeared in the New York Times Magazine and the Nation, among other publications. Mosley is the winner of numerous awards, including an O. Henry Award, the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, a Grammy, and PEN America’s Lifetime Achievement Award. He lives in New York City.
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