[alert variation=”alert-info”]Publisher: The Masters Review
Formats: Paperback
Purchase: Amazon [/alert]

Lev Grossman edits this collection of stories, handpicked from students in graduate level creative writing programs. In his introduction he recalls his own failed attempt at getting into graduate school. He mentions his writing sample, which he described as “showy, arch, effortful, experimental, painfully self-conscious, and weird-to-no-purpose.” He was applying when a lot of fiction was self-conscious, gazing in the mirror, focusing on its inadequacies, and trying to figure out how best to undermine the literary status quo. This was even before the Internet and Amazon threatened “literature as we know it.” But no matter what tumultuous patterns the literary weather brings us, good stories are what tend to win out in the end. Grossman’s picks do what good stories have always done: whether heavily metaphorical and surreal like Drew Ciccolo’s “The Behemoth,” or a straightforward narrative of love and loss like Diana Xin’s “Someone Else,” these stories do what the best stories always do. The late David Foster Wallace said: “Fiction’s about what it means to be a fucking human being.” That’s why Mr. Grossman picked these stories. It’s because they are the stories of the past. Stories that show us what it means to be human are always going to be the future of fiction writing, no matter what “form” they might take. And if these stories by these young writers are any indication, our literary future is bright.

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