All of the stories in this anthology are set in the West and all were published in 1988. many by well-known writers in national magazines, but some in small journals not widely available. In any event, if this is not what the real West is like, it's as close as we're likely in get in fiction. The range is from comic to grim: Ken Smith's ""Meal"" is a tense narrative about an old man tied tip in his cabin by two striking miners who then butcher one of his cows; Gordon Weaver's ""The American Dream: the Book of Boggs"" is a modern satiric retelling of the Book of Job in mock-biblical prose. Rick Bass' ""Choteau,"" part tall tale, is about a man with two girlfriends who goes to Canada to hunt and finally gets thrown by a moose: the naive narrator is a delight. Jim Harrison's ""Dalva"" is an American saga by an Indian narrator who had her first child at 16, while Louise Erdrich's ""Matchimanito"" is part magic realism, part folk-myth, an oral telling about a young wild Indian who survives a plague to give birth amidst signs and portents. Other notables: Gladys Swan's ""Lucinda,"" about a woman always wailing for her husband, who is either off in LA. making deals or putting the moves on her best friend; William Kittredge's ""Hermitage,"" a quiet, resigned piece about a narrator who returns home when his father dies; and Ron Hansen's ""Wickedness,"" a collage story whose protagonist is a blizzard 100 years ago--the narrative jump-cuts from place to place in the storm, presenting its consequences and returning on occasion to a young schoolteacher who felt she ""was in a book without description."" Though short-fiction lovers will already have read a number of these, the siren call of location is as apt a reason as any to place a bevy of good stories between the same covers.