The Anchor Book of New American Short Stories

by Ben Marcus

Anchor Book of New American Short Stories

Anchor Books, 2004
Edited with an Introduction by Ben Marcus

In twenty-nine separate but ingenious ways, these stories seek permanent residence within a reader. They strive to become an emotional or intellectual cargo that might accompany us wherever, or however, we go.  If we are made by what we read, if language truly builds people into what they are, how they think, the depth with which they feel, then these stories are, to me, premium material for that construction project. You could build a civilization with them.

Award-winning author of Notable American Women, Ben Marcus brings us this engaging and comprehensive collection of short stories that explore the stylistic variety of the medium in America today.

Sea Oak by George Saunders
Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned by Wells Tower
Do Not Disturb by A.M. Homes
The Girl in the Flammable Skirt by Aimee Bender
The Caretaker by Anthony Doerr
The Old Dictionary by Lydia Davis
The Father’s Blessing by Mary Caponegro
The Life and Work of Alphonse Kauders by Aleksandar Hemon
People Shouldn’t Have to be the Ones to Tell You by Gary Lutz
Histories of the Undead by Kate Braverman
When Mr. Pirzada Came to Dine by Jhumpa Lahiri
Down the Road by Stephen Dixon
X Number of Possibilities by Joanna Scott
Tiny, Smiling Daddy by Mary Gaitskill
Brief Interviews with Hideous Men by David Foster Wallace
The Sound Gun by Matthew Derby
Short Talks by Anne Carson
Field Events by Rick Bass
Scarliotti and the Sinkhole by Padgett Powell


“Intelligent, entertaining, and wide-ranging, this anthology is a primer on the contemporary short story and should be required reading for anyone interested in the form.”
Tin House

“An ambitious new anthology crammed with today’s big names (Gaitskill, Saunders, Wallace) proves that even in a postmodern age, good storytelling fulfills a primal need.”

“Different readers will likely prefer some selections to others, but all will have to agree that Marcus has collected a respectable sampling of some of today’s finest writers.”