The O. Henry Prize Stories 2017 is a stunning collection of twenty short stories published in the past year in literary magazines in the U.S. and Canada. I noticed that Elizabeth McCracken, one of my favorite writers, was among the jurists, along with David Bradley, and Brad Watson, so I had high hopes and they were met. O. Henry is perhaps the most well-known short story writer of the United States. His The Gift of the Magi has defined the generosity of love for generations.  The O. Henry Prize has fostered short stories ever since.

This year’s twenty stories take place all over the world. Some stories are quite long and others are short, though anything but sweet. Buttony is a very short story and seems sweet at the beginning, but only if you’re not paying attention. Nonetheless, the abrupt shift toward the end recalls the O. Henry tradition of a twist. I loved Floating Garden, particularly how the author carefully never named the country, giving the story a universality. Paddle to Canada is gloriously human, how stories have this subtext that changes as circumstances change. The Family Whistle broke my heart and I regretted that she did the right thing. I could go on, so many of these stories were just so wonderful

I enjoyed this collection of short stories in The O. Henry Prize Stories 2017. I think the diversity of voices and experiences is unmatched. There are stories of old age and youth, of wealth and poverty, of the now and the long ago, of privilege and the downside of power, from Africa, Asia, Latin America, Europe and North America. The stories are alive with possibility and passion. The O. Henry Prize is all about promoting the art of the short story and these are short stories from the best of the best.

“Too Good To Be True,” Michelle Huneven
“Something for a Young Woman,” Genevieve Plunkett
“The Buddhist,” Alan Rossi
“Garments,” Tahmima Anam
“Protection,” Paola Peroni
“Night Garden,” Shruti Swamy
“A Cruelty,” Kevin Barry
“Floating Garden,” Mary La Chapelle
“The Trusted Traveler,” Joseph O’Neill
“Blue Dot,” Keith Eisner
“Lion,” Wil Weitzel
“Paddle to Canada,” Heather Monley
“A Small Sacrifice for an Enormous Happiness,” Jai Chakrabarti
“The Bride and the Street Party,” Kate Cayley
“Secret Lives of the Detainees,” Amit Majmudar
“Glory,” Lesley Nneka Arimah
“Mercedes Benz,” Martha Cooley
“The Reason Is Because,” Manuel Muñoz
“The Family Whistle,” Gerard Woodward
“Buttony,” Fiona McFarlane

The O. Henry Prize Stories 2017 will be released September 5th. I received an e-galley for review from the publisher via Edelweiss