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Publisher's Summary

A collection of the year’s best stories selected by celebrated two-time National Book Award winner Jesmyn Ward.

In her introduction to The Best American Short Stories 2021, guest editor Jesmyn Ward says that the best fiction offers the reader a “sense of repair”. The stories in this year’s collection accomplish just that, immersing the listener in powerfully imagined worlds and allowing them to bring some of that power into their own lives.

From a stirring portrait of Rodney King’s final days to a surreal video game set in the Middle East - with real consequences - to an indigenous boy’s gripping escape from his captors, this collection renders profoundly empathetic depictions of the variety of human experience. These stories are poignant reminders of the possibilities of fiction: As you sink into world after world, become character after character, as Ward writes, you “forget yourself” and then, upon surfacing, know yourself and others anew.

Included here are stories by Gabriel Bump, Brandon Hobson, David Means, Jane Pek, Tracey Rose Peyton, George Saunders, Bryan Washington, Kevin Wilson, C Pam Zhang, and others.

Narrators:

  • Brittany Pressley
  • Katie Tang
  • Ryan Vincent Anderson
  • Emily Ellet
  • Michael Crouch
  • Frankie Corzo
  • Adan Rocha
  • Priya Ayyar
  • JD Jackson
  • Johnathan Davis
  • Bahni Turpin
  • Robin Eller
  • Sarah Mollo-Christensen
  • Katherine Howe
  • Lisa Flanagan
  • Alex Mann
  • Robert Fass
  • Tre Hall
  • Graham Halstead
  • Piper Goodeve
  • Sterling Sulieman

Full list of narrators: Brittany Pressley, Katie Tang, Ryan Vincent Anderson, Emily Ellet, Michael Crouch, Frankie Corzo, Adan Rocha, Priya Ayyar, JD Jackson, Johnathan Davis, Bahni Turpin, Robin Eller, Sarah Mollo-Christensen, Katherine Howe, Lisa Flanagan, Alex Mann, Robert Fass, Tre Hall, Graham Halstead, Piper Goodeve, Sterling Sulieman

©2021 by HarperCollins Publishers. Introduction © 2021 by Jesmyn Ward (P)2021 HarperCollins Publishers

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Fair listen

Good writing, each story more depressing then the last. struggle to finish. Wouldn't recommend if you're looking for an light hearted escape from reality.

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Amazing short stories!

I loved the stories in this book!
Beautiful brilliantly constructed describing human nature and their environment!