The Best American Short Stories 2020

The Best American Short Stories 2020

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edited by Curtis Sittenfeld

“To read their stories felt to me the way I suspect other people feel hearing jazz for the first time,” recalls Curtis Sittenfeld of her initial encounter with the Best American Short Stories series. “They were windows into emotions I had and hadn’t had, into other settings and circumstances and observations and relationships.” Decades later, Sittenfeld was met by the same feeling selecting the stories for this year’s edition. The result is a striking and nuanced collection, bringing to life awkward college students, disgraced public figures, raunchy grandparents, and mystical godmothers. To read these stories is to experience the transporting joys of discovery and affirmation, and to realize that story writing in America continues to flourish. 

Godmother tea / Selena Anderson --
The apartment / T.C. Boyle --
A faithful but melancholy account of several barbarities lately committed / Jason Brown --
Sibling rivalry / Michael Byers --
The nanny / Emma Cline --
Halloween / Marian Crotty --
Something Street / Carolyn Ferrell --
This is pleasure / Mary Gaitskill --
In the event / Meng Jin --
The children / Andrea Lee --
Rubberdust / Sarah Thankam Mathews --
It's not you / Elizabeth McCracken --
Liberté / Scott Nadelson --
Howl Palace / Leigh Newman --
The nine-tailed fox explains / Jane Pek --
The hands of dirty children / Alejandro Puyana --
Octopus VII / Anna Reeser --
Enlightenment / William Pei Shih --
Kennedy / Kevin Wilson --
The special world / Tiphanie Yanique