New Stories from the South by ZZ Packer
The Year's Best, 2006

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This year, acclaimed short-story writer ZZ Packer chooses twenty distinctive stories representing the great number of voices and narratives coming out of the South. Some of the youngest and freshest talents on the literary horizon—Bret Anthony Johnston, Kevin Brockmeier, Holly Goddard Jones—accompany well-known Southern stalwarts, including Pinckney Benedict, Clyde Edgerton, and Ron Rash. Their stories tell of life as it is now, a life not seen in romanticized Southern fiction, one where existence—both urban and rural—is as raw and risky as it is alluring. The energy of this collection courses through every one of Packer's edgy, funny, and gritty selections.

About ZZ Packer

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In 1966, as a conscientious objector faced with possible charges of draft evasion during the Vietnam War, Allan Gurganus found himself on a four-year tour as a message decoder on an aircraft carrier. While at sea, Gurganus, who had studied to be a painter, developed the idea for his first successful novel, Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All (1989) after reading an article that described how Confederate veterans were granted pensions in the 1880s, making them prime marital candidates for much younger women. The novel features Lucy Marsden, a feisty ninety-nine-year-old North Carolina widow, and spans the 1850s to the 1980s. Gurganus's subsequent books include Blessed Assurance: A Moral Tale (1989), The Practical Heart (1993), and Plays Well With Others (1997). He has written a number of short stories that have appeared in periodicals such as Granta, The New York Times, The New Yorker, Harper's, and Paris Review, and in books such as The Faber Book of Short Gay Fiction (1991). Eleven of his short stories are collected in The White People (1991). Gurganus was born in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, in 1947 and graduated from Sarah Lawrence College (B.A., 1972) and the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop (M.F.A., 1974). He has taught fiction writing at University of Iowa, Stanford University, Duke University, Sarah Lawrence College and the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop, and has had his paintings displayed in many private and public collections. Kathy Pories earned her B.A. and Ph.D. in English Literature at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She taught in the English Department at UNC and at Elon University before joining Algonquin in 1995. She lives in Durham, North Carolina.
Published August 18, 2006 by Algonquin Books. 368 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Gurganus maintains a buoyant mix of gravitas and levity, and in his tongue-in-cheek introduction, lists the kinds of stories with stock “Southerly” ingredients that he has spared the reader, i.e., those with arbitrary phonetic spelling, village interaction, impending gun violence, pan-generationa...

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Publishers Weekly

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Gurganus also indulges in revisionist history (Ben Fountain's ""Brief Encounters with Che Guevara""), The Onion-style news accounts (Chris Bachelder's ""Blue Knights Bounced from CVD Tourney"") and a narrative by a rattlesnake rancher (R.T.

Aug 21 2006 | Read Full Review of New Stories from the South: T...

Publishers Weekly

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Both Mary Helen Stefaniak (""A Note to Biographers Regarding Famous Author Flannery O'Connor"") and Margo Rabb (""How to Tell a Story"") use real-life experiences--Stefaniak's mother and aunts went to school with O'Connor, and Rabb's parents were killed in a plane crash--as their respective found...

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Austin Chronicle

Battle Notes While Choosing 2006's New Stories From the South," Gurganus not only delivers a declaration on the supremacy of arts and letters from the South (along with a double-dog-dare to prove him wrong) but expands his discussion to ask why fiction matters.

Dec 29 2006 | Read Full Review of New Stories from the South: T...

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