By Richard Ford
Richard Ford, who is among the very finest of American novelists and story writers, edited and introduced the first Granta Book of the American Short Story, which Granta published in 1992. It became the definitive anthology of American short fiction written in the last half of the twentieth century – an 'exemplary choice' in the words of the Washington Post – with stories by writers such as Eudora Welty, John Cheever and Raymond Carver (and forty others) demonstrating how much memorable power can lie in the briefest narration.
In the fourteen years since, Ford has been reading new storhttp://www.blogger.com/img/gl.link.gifies and re-reading old ones and selecting new favourites. This new collection, again of more than forty writers, expands Ford's orginal choice to include stories that he regretted overlooking first time around as well as many by a new generation of writers, among them Sherman Alexie, Junot Diaz, Deborah Eisenberg, Nell Freidenberg, Matt Klam, Jhumpa Lahiri, and Z.Z. Packer. None of the stories (though a few of the writers) was in the first volume.
Taken together, Ford's two volumes constitute an important reflection and judgment of recent American writing - as well as the superb pleasure yielded by the stories themselves.