Reaching Inside: 50 Acclaimed Authors on 100 Unforgettable Short Stories

David R. Godine. Apr. 2023. 320p. ed. by Andre Dubus III. ISBN 9781567927696. $28.95. LIT
For this collection of essays by 50 accomplished authors discussing 100 short stories, editor Dubus, a novelist in his own right (Townie; House of Sand and Fog), asked authors—including Tobias Wolff, Richard Russo, Edith Pearlman, and Lois Lowry—to select and discuss two short stories that impacted their lives. Thus, the book provides a wide array of voices and backgrounds, as well as a large spectrum of story selections. The short essays provide fast yet erudite analysis of these works. For instance, Wolff (This Boy’s Life) discusses Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “Wakefield” and Joyce Carol Oates’s “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” Elsewhere, Oates analyzes Ralph Ellison’s “Battle Royal” and John Updike’s “A&P.” Other authors discuss works by William Faulkner, Herman Melville, James Baldwin, and Edith Wharton, among many others. The title functions as an index and contextual discussion for the great short stories.
VERDICT The book’s subject matter lends it to a literary audience, making this publication most intriguing to authors, teachers and professors of English and to literature connoisseurs. This compilation of articles on important short stories will make avid readers and writers very happy.
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