Ed. Atwan, Robert; Norris, Kathleen
Date finished: 2002-07-24
Notable essays: James Campbell's brief historical essay "Travels with RLS"; Anne Fadiman's discussion of the joys of receiving mail; Edward Hoagland's "Calliope Times", a memoir of running away and joining the circus; Adam Hochschild's view of the disjunctures of life in India; Stephen King's account of being struck by a van and almost killed; Barbara Hurd's "Refugium", a poetic look at swamps as a refuge; Lenore Look's and her parents' homecoming to their village in China; David Michaelis' intensely nostalgic return to his boyhood home of Provincetown; Spencer Nadler's "Brain-Cell Memories", an uneasy essay about neurology both personal and impersonal; Carlo Rotella's "Cut Time", about boxing; Ashraf Rushdy's historical essay on lynching in the American South; and Earl Shorris's epitaph for dying languages. A very good collection, with only one or two essays that were boring. It's interesting to compare this with the 1987 edition. There seems to have been a shift to the personal, because more of the 2001 essays are about memories or emotions or personal attributes, while the 1987 essays are more often about a place or an event or another person. The 2001 volume therefore feels a bit stuffier, a bit more self-absorbed, and its subjects are less universal, meaning that I prefer the earlier book.
%T The Best American Essays 2001 %@ 2002-07-24 %E Atwan, Robert %E Norris, Kathleen %G ISBN 0618049312 %K essays