Sunday, November 30, 2008

The New Yorker: Best Stories of 2008

Thanks to all who left comments or sent me emails to suggest stories that should be included in the top-ten list. I agreed with almost all of the suggestions I received. One nominee that didn't make it into the top ten was a Janet Frame story, not because the author is dead but because I had narrowed the last spot down to that story or a second story by Alice Munro, and in the end I just thought the Munro story was better.

Where the stories are online, the title is a link to the magazine. (Only one was print only.) After the author's name I've given a link to my commentary, if anyone needs a memory refresher. I hope readers will comment on this "long list"; from comments left or emailed to me I will derive a short list (to which I reserve the right to add any great stories that appear between now and the end of the year), and will open voting on the top five in order to determine the winner. So, please comment!

January 14, 2008: “Wakefield” by E.L. Doctorow (my commentary)

February 11 & 18, 2008: “Free Radicals” by Alice Munro (my commentary)

May 12, 2008: “A Man Like Him” by Yiyun Li (my commentary)

May 26, 2008: “The Full Glass” by John Updike (my commentary)

June 9 & 16, 2008: “Don’t Cry” by Mary Gaitskill [not online] (my commentary)

June 23, 2008: “The Headstrong Historian” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (my commentary)

August 11 & 18, 2008: “The Dinner Party” by Joshua Ferris (my commentary)

September 8, 2008: “Face” by Alice Munro (my commentary)

September 22, 2008: “The Noble Truths of Suffering” by Aleksandar Hemon (my commentary)

November 24, 2008: “Ghosts” by Edwidge Danticat (my commentary)


Mark Hubbard said...

I didn't know you'd asked for emails Cliff, otherwise I would have tried to tip you toward my country-woman, Janet Frame, and away from Munro.

Of the ones here I've not read all of them, so will try to do so before your poll. I do remember the Updike though, both loving it, and being affected by it.

Mike Young said...

Ferris gets my vote.

Leslie said...

I thought the Doctorow story was vivid and memorable, the one I told my husband he must read (he also liked it).

Mark Richardson said...

I read some on your list, but not all. I read: “Wakefield”; “Free Radicals”; “The Full Glass”; “The Dinner Party”; “Face" I enjoyed all of them! "Free Radical" is perhaps the one I would remove....

I liked Wakefield the best. The #2 of the year for me would be "The Lie." I'm attracted to stories with clear prose, and with characters who seem to break free from the requirements of "civilized" life...