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Book review: Pushcart Prize 2015

June 1, 2015

This was an exceptional year for my favorite annual collection!

Top 5:

  1. The Zen Thing, by Emma Duffy-Comparone: A hyper-realistic depiction of a family day at the beach; this is an author to watch.
  2. Annie Radcliffe, You Are Loved, by Barrett Swanson: The vivid intersection of the characters’ lives made this feel like an entire movie in the space of a short story.
  3. Animals, by Michael Kardos: The author uses office life at an unscrupulous call center to investigate loneliness.
  4. The Dance Contest, by Wells Tower: Force yourself through the baffling beginning to get to the great ending.
  5. By the Time You Read This, by Yannick Murphy: Best suicide note ever.

Other standouts:

  • The Mother, by Latoya Watkins: Read this for the fantastic first-person voice.
  • The Fiction Writer, by Maribeth Fischer: This brought to mind Rebecca Scherm’s novel Unbecoming.
  • The Last Days of the Baldock, by Inara Verzemnieks: This is a memorable story about the long-term residents of a highway rest stop in Oregon (yes, you read that correctly).  It reminded me of George Saunders with its improbable premise backed by realistic details.
  • Blue, by Russell Banks: I’m not usually a fan of Russell Banks, but I loved this (and I wasn’t surprised that Joyce Carol Oates nominated it, with that ending!).
  • Unmoving Like a Mighty River Stilled, by Alan Rossi: This is an engrossing examination of the conflict between our internal and external selves.
beth winter


Beth works in the Collection Development department.  She loves short stories, memoirs, documentary films, and cookbooks.  Her favorite things about working at the library are knowing in advance about all the new releases and the easy access to her library holds.