The Best Short Stories 2024: The O. Henry Prize Winners

Vintage. Sept. 2024. 400p. ed. by Amor Towles. ISBN 9780593470619. pap. $19. F
The O. Henry Award is the oldest major prize for short fiction, and one of the most respected. The list of past winners is a who’s who of American fiction: William Faulkner, Eudora Welty, John Cheever, Kevin Brockmeier, Mary Swan, John Edgar Wideman, Cynthia Ozick, Raymond Carver, Stephen King. In this edition of the annual collection, edited and introduced by Towles (A Gentleman in Moscow; Table for Two), readers get a diverse and glorious selection of the best short fiction published in 2023. It’s not limited to American voices either; there are stories translated from Italian and Portuguese, originally published in the New Yorker and the Paris Review. This volume constitutes a celebration of the art of writing and a command of the short story form: a gift of imagination, wit, and wonder. The collection is filled with miniature masterpieces. The opening story, “Roy” by Emma Binder (first published in the lit mag Gulf Coast), is an oddly exhilarating tale of alienation, longing, and dread that feels like something out of Flannery O’Connor, told by the love child of Marilynne Robinson and Cormac McCarthy.
VERDICT This must-have anthology is a treasure trove not to be missed.
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