The Best American Short Stories 2018 Read online





  Contents

  * * *

  Title Page

  Contents

  Copyright

  Foreword

  Introduction

  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

  Contributors’ Notes

  Other Distinguished Stories of 2017

  American and Canadian Magazines Publishing Short Stories

  Read More from the Best American Series

  About the Editors

  Connect with HMH

  Copyright © 2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company

  Introduction copyright © 2018 by Roxane Gay

  All Rights Reserved

  The Best American Series® and The Best American Short Stories® are registered trademarks of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.

  No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying and recording, or by any information storage or retrieval system without the proper written permission of the copyright owner unless such copying is expressly permitted by federal copyright law. With the exception of nonprofit transcription in Braille, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt is not authorized to grant permission for further uses of copyrighted selections reprinted in this book without the permission of their owners. Permission must be obtained from the individual copyright owners as identified herein. Address requests for permission to make copies of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt material to [email protected] or to Permissions, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company, 3 Park Avenue, 19th Floor, New York, New York 10016.

  hmhco.com

  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

  v2.0918

  “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.

  Foreword

  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