THE BEST AMERICAN SHORT STORIES 1977 by Martha--Ed. Foley

THE BEST AMERICAN SHORT STORIES 1977

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Foley's foreword is devoted to a charming celebration of the brand-new, pro-author copyright law, and this year's anthology is dedicated to the memory of business-minded Rex Stout, author of--in addition to all those books--""Do You Let Dollar Bills Lie Around Like Your Copyrights?"" And, appropriately, 1977's score of stories display a good deal more humor--even if not quite Stout's folksy-urban sort of humor--than have either recent Foley gatherings or the O. Henry Award collections: the offerings of Anne Tyler, Tom Robbins, Leslie Epstein, Price Caldwell, and Philip Damon are substantially comic, while the inventive formats of William S. Wilson and Jack Matthews (""A Questionnaire for Rudolph Gordon"") rely on whimsical ironies that hold back panicky undercurrents. But if this compendium boasts higher spirits than its O. Henry 1977 counterpart (common to both collections are John Sayles' ""Breed"" and Stephen Minot's ""A Passion for History""), it loses points for sexual imbalance; nearly three-fourths of the stories are by men (the O. Henry grouping slightly favored women), and not even Charles Newman's ""The Woman Who Thought Like a Man"" can quite correct the overall lopsided effect. Other contributors: John Cheever (a cutting from Falconer), J.C. Oates (""Gay,"" a bruising look at an aging homosexual in academia), William Saroyan, Tim O'Brien (tracking a Vietnam deserter), Ann Copeland, Eugene K. Gather, Patricia Hample (very much from The New Yorker: ""Look at a Teacup""), Baine Kerr, and John William Corrington. A lively array, less grimly introspective than usual.

Pub Date: Sept. 21st, 1977
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin