Monday, December 19, 2011

New Yorker Fiction 2011

This year the magazine published 48 pieces of fiction, of which I read 24. Here are my favorites, in chronological order. Not all of them are available online, but I have linked the ones that are:

The King of Norway, by Amos Oz (1/17)—an aborted romance on a kibbutz in Israel

Axis, by Alice Munro (1/31)—a great story about how lives can turn profoundly on a single moment; it just occurs to me now that this story would be an interesting companion to Margaret Atwood's "Stone Mattress," a sort of feminist "Cask of Amontillado" published in the final issue of the year

The Other Place, by Mary Gaitskill (2/14)—a disturbing story about men and violence

Paranoia, by Saïd Sayrafiezadeh (2/28)—an eerie parable of race and class in America

The Trusty, by Ron Rash (5/23)—a convict attempts to escape from the chain gang

Home, by George Saunders (6/13)—a war veteran's struggles

Gravel, by Alice Munro (6/27)—a childhood trauma

Reverting to a Wild State, by Justin Torres (8/1)—tracing, in reverse chronological order, the devolution of a relationship

Tenth of December, by George Saunders (10/31)—a moving iteration of one of Saunders's favorite fictional structures: two characters, lost in their own worlds, who encounter each other out in the world

What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank, by Nathan Englander (12/12)—a take-off on Raymond Carver's famous story, this time about two Jewish couples, one ultra-conservative, the other quite secular

If you're curious, here are my favorites from 2008, 2009, and 2010.


Elizabeth said...

I loved "What we talk about when we talk about Anne Frank" and "Axis." I am having a hard time placing some others. I'll have to try to recall "Gravel." Last night I finished Munro's collection, The Beggar Maid. Old stuff. Really good.

framiko said...

I loved The Beggar Maid, too, although I much prefer its Canadian title: Who Do You Think You Are?

Elizabeth said...

I didn't know that. That's curious. Both "the beggar maid" and "who do you think you are?" are stories in the collection, so I wonder why we (in the U.S.) didn't get "Who Do You Think You Are?" as the book title.

framiko said...

The vagaries of the publishing business, I guess. Supposedly the Canadian title was considered "too philosophical."

I like this cover of the first Canadian edition, don't you?