Higher Elevations: Stories from the West: A Writers' Forum Anthology
Higher Elevations: Stories from the West is a rich and varied anthology of fiction from Writers' Forum. As the subtitle promises, it is regional, but these are not all stories from your grandfather's (or Hollywood's) West. These are rodeos and forest fires, lonely farmhouses, and isolated lives in wide open spaces, but there are also stories of the urban homeless, of teenage girls in the club and drug scene of present-day Austin, of wetbacks, Vietnamese immigrants, literate writers of advertising commercials living in high-rise flats. There are action stories and stories of local color, but there are also Jamesian stories, allusive stories, sophisticated, even brittle stories that, mutatis mutandis, might come from the pages of the New Yorker, though the mutation is refreshing and liberating.
Robert Olan Butler's "Love" is hilarious; Brett Lott's "I Owned Vermont" brief, oblique, and penetrating; Charles Baxter's "The Eleventh Floor" urbane and moving, Lesley Poling Kemper's "Edith's Own" simultaneously awkward and powerful. The anthology has both variety and cohesiveness and its high quality testifies to the almost inexplicable phenomenon of the flourishing of the short story in a market with few outlets. Writers' Forum is to be congratulated for affording an opportunity for excellent writing to see the light of day.
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