The Best American Short Stories 2018 Read online
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MARIA ANDERSON: Cougar
JAMEL BRINKLEY: A Family
YOON CHOI: The Art of Losing
EMMA CLINE: Los Angeles
ALICIA ELLIOTT: Unearth
DANIELLE EVANS: Boys Go to Jupiter
CAROLYN FERRELL: A History of China
ANN GLAVIANO: Come On, Silver
JACOB GUAJARDO: What Got Into Us
CRISTINA HENRÍQUEZ: Everything Is Far from Here
KRISTEN ISKANDRIAN: Good with Boys
JOCELYN NICOLE JOHNSON: Control Negro
MATTHEW LYONS: The Brothers Brujo
DINA NAYERI: A Big True
TÉA OBREHT: Items Awaiting Protective Enclosure
RON RASH: The Baptism
AMY SILVERBERG: Suburbia!
CURTIS SITTENFELD: The Prairie Wife
RIVERS SOLOMON: Whose Heart I Long to Stop with the Click of a Revolver
ESMÉ WEIJUN WANG: What Terrible Thing It Was
Other Distinguished Stories of 2017
American and Canadian Magazines Publishing Short Stories
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Copyright © 2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company
Introduction copyright © 2018 by Roxane Gay
All Rights Reserved
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ISSN 0067-6233 (print)
ISSN 2573-4784 (ebook)
ISBN 978-0-544-58288-0 (hardcover)
ISBN 978-0-544-58294-1 (pbk.)
ISBN 978-1-328-50667-2 (ebook)
Cover design by Christopher Moisan
Gay photograph © Jay Grabiec
“Cougar” by Maria Anderson. First published in the Iowa Review, 46/3. Copyright © 2017 by Maria Anderson. Reprinted by permission of Maria Anderson.
“A Family” by Jamel Brinkley. First published in Gulf Coast, vol. 28, issue 2. From A Lucky Man: Stories. Copyright © 2018 by Jamel Brinkley. Reprinted with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc., on behalf of Graywolf Press, Minneapolis, Minnesota, www.graywolfpress.org.
“The Art of Losing” by Yoon Choi. First published in New England Review, vol. 38, no. 2. Copyright © 2017 by Yoon Choi. Reprinted by permission of Yoon Choi.
“Los Angeles” by Emma Cline. First published in Granta, 139. Copyright © 2017 by Emma Cline. Reprinted by permission of Granta.
“Unearth” by Alicia Elliott. First published in Grain, vol. 44.3. Copyright © 2017 by Alicia Elliott. Reprinted by permission of Alicia Elliott.
“Boys Go to Jupiter” by Danielle Evans. First published in the Sewanee Review, vol. CXXV, no. 4. Copyright © 2017 by Danielle Evans. Reprinted by permission of Danielle Evans.
“A History of China” by Carolyn Ferrell. First published in Ploughshares: Solos Omnibus, vol. 5. Copyright © 2017 by Carolyn Ferrell. Reprinted by permission of Carolyn Ferrell.
“Come On, Silver” by Ann Glaviano. First published in Tin House, vol. 18, no. 4. Copyright © 2017 by Ann Glaviano. Reprinted by permission of Ann Glaviano.
“What Got Into Us” by Jacob Guajardo. First published in Passages North, no. 38. Copyright © 2017 by Jacob Guajardo. Reprinted by permission of Jacob Guajardo.
“Everything Is Far from Here” by Cristina Henríquez. First published in The New Yorker, July 24, 2017. Copyright © 2017 by Cristina Henríquez. Reprinted by permission of the author.
“Good with Boys” by Kristen Iskandrian. First published in ZYZZYVA, no. 109. Copyright © 2017 by Kristen Iskandrian. Used by permission of Brandt & Hochman Literary Agents, Inc. All rights reserved.
“Control Negro” by Jocelyn Nicole Johnson. First published in Guernica, July 29, 2017. Copyright © 2017 by Jocelyn Nicole Johnson. Reprinted by permission of Jocelyn Nicole Johnson.
“The Brothers Brujo” by Matthew Lyons. First published in Toughcrime.com. Copyright © 2017 by Matthew Lyons. Reprinted by permission of Matthew Lyons.
“A Big True” by Dina Nayeri. First published in the Southern Review, vol. 53, no. 3. Copyright © 2017 by Dina Nayeri. Reprinted by permission of Dina Nayeri.
“Items Awaiting Protective Enclosure” by Téa Obreht. First published in Zoetrope: All-Story, vol. 21, no. 1. Copyright © 2017 by Téa Obreht. Reprinted by permission of Téa Obreht.
“The Baptism” by Ron Rash. First published in the Southern Review, vol. 53, no. 4. Copyright © 2017 by Ron Rash. Reprinted by permission of Ron Rash.
“Suburbia!” by Amy Silverberg. First published in the Southern Review, vol. 53, no. 2. Copyright © 2017 by Amy Silverberg. Reprinted by permission of Amy Silverberg.
“The Prairie Wife” by Curtis Sittenfeld. First published in The New Yorker, February 13 & 20, 2017. Copyright © 2017 by Curtis Sittenfeld. Reprinted by permission of Curtis Sittenfeld.
“Whose Heart I Long to Stop with the Click of a Revolver” by Rivers Solomon. First published in Emrys Journal, vol. 34. Copyright © 2017 by Rivers Solomon. Reprinted by permission of Rivers Solomon.
“What Terrible Thing It Was” by Esmé Weijun Wang. First published in Granta, 139. Copyright © 2017 by Esmé Weijun Wang. Reprinted by permission of The Wylie Agency, LLC.
I do not think it hyperbole to say that in 2018, the rapidly changing condition of American democracy has become an absorbing narrative of its own, one that features larger-than-life characters, nonstop conflict, breakneck pacing, and incredibly high stakes. On the day that I write this, April 16, 2018, the former head of the FBI is on a book tour, railing against what he calls our “morally unfit” president, the man who fired him a little less than a year ago. Five days ago, and without the consent of Congress, the president authorized an air strike of Syria after its president used chemical weapons against civilians near Damascus. Six days ago, two black men were arrested and detained for eight hours at a Philadelphia Starbucks after simply asking to use the restroom. Eight days ago, the FBI raided the office of the president’s longtime lawyer, seizing among many other things, evidence of hush money paid to a pornographic actress after an alleged affair with him. By the way, the FBI is also investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 election, the role of Russian hackers and Facebook in the election, and most likely a laundry list of related alarming occurrences. On Valentine’s Day, a nineteen-year-old opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, killing seventeen people and injuring seventeen more.
Fiction writers are now faced with the significant challenge of producing work t