The O. Henry Prize Stories 2013: Including stories by Donald Antrim, Andrea Barrett, Ann Beattie, Deborah Eisenberg, Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, Kelly Link, Alice Munro, and Lily Tuck
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The O. Henry Prize Stories 2013 gathers twenty of the best short stories of the year, selected from thousands published in literary magazines. The winning stories take place in such far-flung locales as a gorgeous sailboat in Hong Kong, a Cuban sugar plantation, the Kenai River in Alaska, a mansion in New Delhi, a ship torpedoed by a German U-boat, and the ghost-haunted rubble of a Turkish girls’ school. Also included are the editor’s introduction, essays from the jurors (Lauren Groff, Edith Pearlman, and Jim Shepard) on their favorite stories, observations from the winners on what inspired them, and an extensive resource list of magazines.
What we love are images of a stampede, of animals running; of what we think are the right stories of stealing away. Nalini Jones Tiger THE TROUBLE WITH THE cats, Essie believed, was entirely her son-in-law Daniel’s fault. They first turned up on the day that Gopi was expected to come shake the coconuts down from the trees. It was mid-morning, a January day without too much Bombay haze, and early enough for the children to play outside without Marian worrying about the heat. Still, she
where he still worked, but from Berkeley and Stanford as well. Even Axel, a fixture now at the college where Sam had first met him, offered modest nuggets gleaned from meetings in New York. Whose lab was expanding, who had lost support. Whose marriage had broken up. What did any of this have to do with science? Or with the real feeling of what had just happened to them? The meals seemed doubly hard when Sam thought of how much better he’d done recently with Avery. On the inexpensive precongress
spoon she heaped little hills of brown crystal into the liquor until the rum nearly met the rim. She carefully stirred it and then gingerly pulled a soaked mound of sugar out of the glass. It dripped onto the kitchen table, and Mercedes held it up to Armando’s mouth. “To drink away the troubles?” he asked. “To forget you ever had them,” she said. “And what happens when I wake tomorrow morning?” “Your head will hurt to the point of cursing sugar. You won’t want it then.” “Sounds terrible.”
than she would a designer handbag, he takes private lessons from a restless, rootless Englishwoman with whom he falls in love. Tash Aw’s story rings with the loneliness and absence of intimacy in Yanzu’s life. As the tale unfolds, Yanzu gains the world in the form of property, status, and bespoke suits, but never finds his own meaning or identity. Aw’s writing is elegant, guided by imagination, and skilled at showing how Yanzu appears to others in contrast to how he feels; the writer lets the
youthful years, though he knew she wasn’t listening—not in the way his mother listened when he spoke of his work, or of himself. And suddenly she interrupted him: “Why are you wanting to run back to England?” He tried to explain it to her. He told her that it was better sometimes not to be too close to one’s source of inspiration. And, as if he were talking about her as that source, she said, “But if I don’t want you to go? If I say mat jao? Please stay?” “Try to understand.” And he repeated