Best American Short Stories 2004, Edited by Lorrie Moore

I just finished “What Kind of Furniture Would Jesus Pick?” by Annie Proulx, author of “Brokeback Mountain.” Ms. Proulx likes her some gay cowboys.

I’ve read Sherman Alexie’s “What You Pawn I Will Redeem” before, though I can’t remember where. It appeared in The New Yorker but I haven’t picked up that rag in ages. Maybe it was in a class.

I loved “Accomplice” by Sarah Shun-Lien Bynum, and not just cuz the author’s a sister. In fact, the story isn’t “Asian American” at all but focuses on an English teacher and her junior high students.

Of course all the stories are good: “Some Other, Better Otto” by Deborah Eisenberg, “The Tutor” by Nell Freudenberger (which made me cry for some reason), “Intervention” by Jill McCorkle. But one that really got to me was “Grace” by Paula Fox.

He had got Grace because he had begun to feel lonely in the evenings and on weekends since the end of his affair with kitty-kat girl, as he named her in memory. In his loneliness, he had beugn to brood over his past. He had been slothful all his life, too impatient to think through the consequences of his actions. He had permitted his thoughts to collapse into an indeterminate tangle when he should have grappled with them.

Excuse me while I pull this knife out of my heart.

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