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The Norton Anthology of Short Fiction

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The classroom standard for readers and aspiring writers of fiction, The Norton Anthology of Short Fiction offers the most comprehensive, engaging selection of classic and contemporary stories in the field.


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The classroom standard for readers and aspiring writers of fiction, The Norton Anthology of Short Fiction offers the most comprehensive, engaging selection of classic and contemporary stories in the field.

30 review for The Norton Anthology of Short Fiction

  1. 4 out of 5

    Billie Pritchett

    The Norton Anthology of Short Fiction is a great place to start to get a sense for the landscape of the short story historically and across continents. Sure, you might take issue with some inclusions (Why this story? Why this author?) and some exclusions, but there is plenty here to learn from and get exposed to, and I know that I made some discoveries having read this book. Here are some of my favorite discoveries: "Anna on the Neck" made me want to read more Anton Chekhov. A poorer woman fears The Norton Anthology of Short Fiction is a great place to start to get a sense for the landscape of the short story historically and across continents. Sure, you might take issue with some inclusions (Why this story? Why this author?) and some exclusions, but there is plenty here to learn from and get exposed to, and I know that I made some discoveries having read this book. Here are some of my favorite discoveries: "Anna on the Neck" made me want to read more Anton Chekhov. A poorer woman fears marrying a bourgeois oafish men but then the table's turn. In "A Wall of Fire Rising" by Edwidge Danticat, a Haitian father wants to escape his rigid society, even if it's to the detriment of his family. Stuart Dybek's "We Didn't" is basically a perfect story. A young man explains how someone's death got in the way of his first sexual encounter and haunted him thereafter. In Ralph Ellison's "King of the Bingo Game," one struggling black man stakes everything on a cash prize at a bingo hall. "The Conscience of the Court" by Zora Neale Hurston made me cry. A black woman, a servant of a white family avoiding its debt, stands trial in this story for beating a debt collector who comes to take away the white family's poverty. It's not clear whether the story will become tragedy or comedy, but when you reread you realize how smartly Hurston laid it out from the beginning to tip in one direction. It really is a beautiful, moving story. Jhumpa Lahiri is awesome. Her story, "Hell-Heaven," is told from the perspective of an Indian-American girl whose mother suffers her love for another man in silence. D.H. Lawrence is a weird sybarite, and that comes through in both the stories here, "The Horse Dealer's Daughter," and "The Rocking-Horse Winner." I won't even spoil them. Lawrence is sensuous without being vulgar, sincere without being sentimental. Doris Lessing's "To Room Nineteen" made me want to hunt for all her stories and anything else she's written. The story is terrific but terrifically odd. A rich woman in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) decides she wants time away from her family and so decides to rent a room in a cheap hotel where she can sit and be alone with her thoughts. That's it. But the story winds up opening all sorts of avenues. Her life feels meaningless and she's wrestling with that. (Real quick, John L'Heureux's "Brief Lives in California" and Amy Tan's "Rules of the Game" are stories I loved, but unfortunately for me these writers are primarily novelist and so I couldn't follow up and check out more of their stories, though we're lucky to have these.) Bernard Malamud's "Angel Levine" is about finding angels among ordinary people. Malamud's stories are terrific. So are the stories by Isaac Bashevis Singer, as you'll see with "Gimpel the Fool" about a rabbi who suffers as many trials as Job does and who must learn to accept his many misfortunes. Guy De Maupassant is a classic master of the short story. Two of his stories are collected in this anthology and, although it could be my failure, I only liked one of his stories but liked it enough to get his collection. The story is called "An Adventure in Paris," about a woman who wants to have a wild time in sensuous Paris. There are some stories I'm leaving out, but I'll finish here with two. John Steinbeck's "The Chrysanthemums" is as good as any story you'll ever read and so is Edith Wharton's "Xingu." The former is about a woman who feels a kind of awakening after a new encounter in the countryside and the latter is about the pretense of communities of intellectuals, so-called. Oh, and honorable mention goes to Bobbie Anne Mason who writes about my hometown and the town adjacent where she grew up. The story in here by her is "Shiloh," and it's a fine story. What follows is a list of further reading, collections of short stories I discovered after reading these authors and the above stories: -- Anton Chekhov, Selected Stories -- Edwidge Danticat, Krik? Krak! -- Stuart Dybek, I Sailed with Magellan -- Ralph Ellison, Flying Home and Other Stories -- Zora Neale Hurston, The Complete Stories -- Jhumpa Lahiri, Interpreter of Maladies -- Doris Lessing, Stories -- Bernard Malamud, The Complete Stories -- Bobbie Ann Mason, Shiloh and Other Stories -- Guy de Maupassant, Complete Original Short Stories -- Isaac Bashevis Singer, The Collected Stories -- John Steinbeck, The Long Valley -- Edith Wharton, Complete Works of Edith Wharton

  2. 4 out of 5

    Emily ☾

    I had to read this for an English class :)

  3. 4 out of 5

    Kira Nerys

    Simply because it became too much of a hassle to add each story individually: Atwood, Margaret. "Death by Landscape." 3 stars. Finished 4/13/15. Bell, Madison Smartt. "Witness." 5 stars. Finished 3/23/15. Bradbury, Ray. "The Veldt." 5 stars. Finished 1/22/15. (science-fiction) Cather, Willa. "Paul's Case." 3 stars. Finished 2/25/15. Cheever, John. "The Enormous Radio." 3 stars. Finished 1/22/15. (science-fiction) Chopin, Kate. "The Story of an Hour." 4 stars. Finished 3/4/15. Cortázar, Julio. "A Simply because it became too much of a hassle to add each story individually: Atwood, Margaret. "Death by Landscape." 3 stars. Finished 4/13/15. Bell, Madison Smartt. "Witness." 5 stars. Finished 3/23/15. Bradbury, Ray. "The Veldt." 5 stars. Finished 1/22/15. (science-fiction) Cather, Willa. "Paul's Case." 3 stars. Finished 2/25/15. Cheever, John. "The Enormous Radio." 3 stars. Finished 1/22/15. (science-fiction) Chopin, Kate. "The Story of an Hour." 4 stars. Finished 3/4/15. Cortázar, Julio. "A Continuity of Parks." 4 stars. Finished 2/18/15. (books-about-writing) Cortázar, Julio. "Letter to a Young Lady in Paris." 5 stars. Finished 2/18/15. (magic) Dodd, Susan. "Public Appearances." 4 stars. Finished 3/2/15. Dubus, Andre. "The Intruder." 3 stars. Finished 3/23/15. (teens-and-death) Gilman, Charlotte Perkins. "The Yellow Wallpaper." 4 stars. Finished 2/21/15. Hawthorne, Nathaniel. "The Birthmark." 3 stars. Reread. (classics, monstrosity-themed, science-fiction) Le Guin, Ursula K. "The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas." 4 stars. Finished 1/28/15. (childhood-abuse, fantasy) Mansfield, Katherine. "Bliss." 4 stars. Finished 3/2/15. O'Brien, Tim. "The Things They Carried." 3 stars. Reread. (war-related) O'Connor, Flannery. "A Good Man Is Hard to Find." 4 stars. Reread. (monstrosity-themed) O'Connor, Flannery. "Everything That Rises Must Converge." 3 stars. Finished 3/9/15. (african-american) Smith, Lee. "Intensive Care." 4 stars. Finished 4/26/15. Thurber, James. "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty." 3 stars. Finished 3/4/15. (movies) Tolstoy, Leo. "The Death of Ivan Ilych." 3 stars. Finished 4/19/15.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Karen L.

    Ah yes, I found a fun and cute story, by Jean Shepherd, the author of the well known story," A Christmas Story," called, "Lost at C." It is told from the perspective of a kid and is hilariously funny. It reminded me of my school days. Want to read more Flannery O'Connor. She has a nice southern story tellers voice. Read "A Good Man is Hard to Find." It was good, suspenseful, yet as with most short stories, has a disturbing ending!Doesn't anyone write short stories with satisfying, or positive Ah yes, I found a fun and cute story, by Jean Shepherd, the author of the well known story," A Christmas Story," called, "Lost at C." It is told from the perspective of a kid and is hilariously funny. It reminded me of my school days. Want to read more Flannery O'Connor. She has a nice southern story tellers voice. Read "A Good Man is Hard to Find." It was good, suspenseful, yet as with most short stories, has a disturbing ending!Doesn't anyone write short stories with satisfying, or positive endings? Didn't like Richard Bausch's "Byron the Lyron." Boring. about a woman and her weird relationship with her son, and her son's weird relationship with her male P.T. Too emo! I Liked Capote's "Miriam." It had great characters and an intriguing plot. I liked Shirley Jackson's, "The Lottery," though it was a disturbing story of human cruelty. Didn't like Bartholeme's "Me and Miss Mandible." Just too weird, a man in a sixth grade class room. That's a nightmare! I will borrow this book from the library again in the future.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jere

    A wide selection of short stories and many (never-heard-of) authors. Some good, some mediocre - didn't come across any that I disliked. There are also some reviews and commentaries, which were an interesting read. Lots of content, maybe a bit too much, felt sort of a heavy read. Favourites: Cathedral by Raymond Carver. READ IT! The Dead by James Joyce.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Ken

    Great compendium. So much entertainment value. I've enjoyed this anthology quite a bit.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Megan Clark

    Stories read: Pre-1900 The Fall of the House of Usher - Poe, 1840 The Birthmark - Hawthorne, 1846 Story of an Hour - Chopin, 1891 The Yellow Wallpaper - Perkins Gilman, 1892 Post-1900 The Metamorphosis - Kafka, 1915 Why I Live at the PO - Welty, 1941 Pierre Menard, Author of the Quixote - Borges, 1944 The Lottery - Jackson, 1948 The Handsomest Drowned Man - Gracia Marquez, 1968 The Ones Who Walk Away - Le Guin, 1973 Me and Miss Mandible - Barthelme, 1981 In the Cemetery Where Al Jolson Is Buried - Hempel, Stories read: Pre-1900 The Fall of the House of Usher - Poe, 1840 The Birthmark - Hawthorne, 1846 Story of an Hour - Chopin, 1891 The Yellow Wallpaper - Perkins Gilman, 1892 Post-1900 The Metamorphosis - Kafka, 1915 Why I Live at the PO - Welty, 1941 Pierre Menard, Author of the Quixote - Borges, 1944 The Lottery - Jackson, 1948 The Handsomest Drowned Man - Gracia Marquez, 1968 The Ones Who Walk Away - Le Guin, 1973 Me and Miss Mandible - Barthelme, 1981 In the Cemetery Where Al Jolson Is Buried - Hempel, 1985 Others: Veldt - Bradbury, 1951 Sonny's Blues - Baldwin, 1957 Girl - Kincaid, 1978

  8. 5 out of 5

    spike marlin

    It took me almost 4 years to read all the short stories in this book. There were good ones and not so good ones. Pick it up and start reading you will enjoy Manet of the stories in it.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Charles

    This was a great grouping of fiction from the US and Europe. I have to admit that I read the first edition, a beaten up thrift store find, over the period of five years, picking it up in earnest and putting it down when other duties called, only to pick it up again. In fact, I could probably start over at the beginning now and enjoy getting re-familiar with the works at the front of the anthology. Reading this collection gave me the chance to read some short fiction that is not usually included This was a great grouping of fiction from the US and Europe. I have to admit that I read the first edition, a beaten up thrift store find, over the period of five years, picking it up in earnest and putting it down when other duties called, only to pick it up again. In fact, I could probably start over at the beginning now and enjoy getting re-familiar with the works at the front of the anthology. Reading this collection gave me the chance to read some short fiction that is not usually included in short stories collections (guess that is why it is a "short fiction" anthology) that I had been wanting to read: these included Melville's "Bartleby the Scrivener." Also of note was Mann's "Disorder and Early Sorrow" and a really interesting story by Elizabeth Parsons, "The Nightingales Sing." Obviously, there are many more, but I can't forget to mention George P. Elliott's shocking "The NRACP."

  10. 4 out of 5

    John

    A wonderful rich and deep collection! This has been my side reading for 5 months now. I started out making notes on some of my favorites, but then stopped at some point. The Veldt by Ray Bradbury – I have read it before and enjoyed it, but I think it struck me even harder this time. How close have we come to being addicted to electronics, and making them our family? Chekov! Wonderful. Stephen Crane has wonderful, rich characters. Isak Dinesen’s Sorrow-Acre was one of the best stories. Multiple A wonderful rich and deep collection! This has been my side reading for 5 months now. I started out making notes on some of my favorites, but then stopped at some point. The Veldt by Ray Bradbury – I have read it before and enjoyed it, but I think it struck me even harder this time. How close have we come to being addicted to electronics, and making them our family? Chekov! Wonderful. Stephen Crane has wonderful, rich characters. Isak Dinesen’s Sorrow-Acre was one of the best stories. Multiple plots woven together. F Scott Fitzgerald’s Babylon Revisited! Powerful. D H Lawrence’s The Horse Dealer’s Daughter – Beautiful and terrifying. Very moving. The Rocking-Horse Winner – A great story contrasting material goods and health/family. The Garden-Party by Katherine Mansfield. Nigh perfect. Drops you straight into a scene, and takes you were you don’t expect.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Kimi

    anthologies, of course, are a great way to get introduced to writers you never heard of. this one is a little heavy on american writers, but i guess that's inevitable with two american editors. on the whole though, a nice broad coverage. there is an interesting section in the back called 'writers on writing': some of the featured writers thoughts on the craft through essays or interviews. another neat feature is a cross referencing of related materials: after a story, you are referred to another anthologies, of course, are a great way to get introduced to writers you never heard of. this one is a little heavy on american writers, but i guess that's inevitable with two american editors. on the whole though, a nice broad coverage. there is an interesting section in the back called 'writers on writing': some of the featured writers thoughts on the craft through essays or interviews. another neat feature is a cross referencing of related materials: after a story, you are referred to another writer's comments on that particular story, or that writer's comments on someone else's work.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Ali

    I added this particular collection to my bookshelf because it's the best summation of short fiction canon that I've come across. Of course, that is not to say that these are the only short stories worth reading, but it has the widest variety and spans the most time. It was also comes with biographies of the authors and footnotes. My personal favorites of this collection include "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" by Ambrose Bierce, "Cathedral" by Raymond Carver, and Philip Roth's "Conversion of I added this particular collection to my bookshelf because it's the best summation of short fiction canon that I've come across. Of course, that is not to say that these are the only short stories worth reading, but it has the widest variety and spans the most time. It was also comes with biographies of the authors and footnotes. My personal favorites of this collection include "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" by Ambrose Bierce, "Cathedral" by Raymond Carver, and Philip Roth's "Conversion of the Jews." Of course most of the titles in this collection are recognizable. The book also includes essays and interviews from the authors either on specific stories or on writing in general.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Keely

    Great anthology. Definitely something for every type and kind of reader. Some from authors you'll recognize and others you may not be familiar with yet. Loved that the authors are in alphabetical order - means you can read the stories without them being framed in a time period or by gender or genre or any other designation. Worthwhile to have on your shelf and read again and again.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Brian Godsey

    I've read less than a quarter of this anthology, but I'll already say that it's brilliant. Or, perhaps every anthology of fiction is this brilliant. It's got bits of everything. Highlights: Gabriel García Márquez's story The Handsomest Drowned Man in the World is a masterpiece. It's like One Hundred Years of Solitude distilled into its purest spirit, fit onto just a few pages.

  15. 5 out of 5

    jacky

    I used to own a huge pile of anthologies that my father got for me over the years. I didn't use them very often, so I donated most of them to my school. I did keep a few which contained stories I kept going back to. This book had stories I pulled out to use with my sophomores. If I remember correctly, I used "Everyday Use" and "The Veldt" from this book.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Alex

    All I get to read these days is what I'm teaching, and I'm so lucky to get to teach a senior elective on reading and writing short stories. We're going to read as much of this book as possible, and I don't think there's a story in it that doesn't belong. I'd add thousands more, but this is as good a place as any for them to get a real taste of my favorite art form.

  17. 5 out of 5

    aisha

    soooo good. a fantastic array of authors (tim o'brien, capote, faulkner, chopin, etc) - it's a good way to dip into authors you've been interested in reading. i enjoyed the selection of stories by authors i'd read before, and was pleasantly satisfied with the ones i hadn't. definitely a "good read". also, i'll always have a special place in my heart for norton's.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Chory

    Yet another in my collection of Norton Anthologies—a veritable mountain of them at his point. This one is the standard for a reason…everything you're looking for that is in the mainstream (i.e., not esoteric or too-arthouse) is in this anthology. For everything else (too-new, too avant-garde), look somewhere else.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan

    One of those college text books I just couldn't sell back- this collection is made up of some of the most notable pieces of literature I have studied and loved throughout my life including Young Goodman Brown, The Littoral Zone, Snow, The Dead, and the list goes on.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    Okay, I didn't read all of this book, but I have read all that I am going to be reading. At least for the time being. Some of the stories I read in class were alright some of them even good. However, there were some pretty bad ones as well.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Ellen Allerton

    A long time favorite of mine because of the variety of stoies offered and the questions at the end of each story. I took a short stories class in college and I loved reading all of these stories and the discussions that followed.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Doverdorff

    I'm embracing the short story this summer. This is a book from college and I remember being horrified at the fact that we read so few of the stories after buying it (the book is monstrous!). Favorite so far "The Star" by Arthur C. Clarke

  23. 4 out of 5

    Anna Tatelman

    Great, diverse selection of authors & stories.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Lucas

    Lots of goodreads in here.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Guy

    A very big, but not very good, collection of short stories.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Frenchtoastygood

    Using this in a fiction class now. I like it, especially the thin pages, although it's annoying to carry around - it's a typical Norton.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Hillary

    This compilation is expertly put together. From Hemingway to Malamud, Tolstoy to Beattie, it encompasses all aspects of human existance.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    Lots of great stories.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    Gak, I am all short story collection-ed out.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Marc

    Laurence, Atwood, Munro, Oates, Johnson, Wilkins Freeman almost make up for the throwaway that de Maupassant probably wrote while sneaking drugs while on the can

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