As I write posts about my favorite short stories, it strikes me as sad that so many of them are from Best American Short Stories. BASS is always a good cross-section of what’s going on in American literature, but when only twenty stories are selected, there are many more that I might never hear of. One can read the usual lit mags, but I’m sure there are just as many awesome stories that have been published in less-known journals.
On the other hand, isn’t it exciting that BASS always has at least a few authors who are not yet widely known? BASS is how I discovered Karen Russell, Rebecca Makkai, Christine Sneed, and other writers I greatly admire. Same goes for Danielle Evans. Before coming across this story of hers in BASS, I had never heard of her.
“Somebody Ought to Tell Her There’s Nowhere to Go” (BASS 2010) is well-crafted, entertaining, and heart-breaking. I like that it deals with a soldier who has just returned from the Iraq and is struggling with PTSD. It seems that a lot of fiction these days is safe and domestic, not especially interested in larger events beyond a few snide comments (always leftist) on the political scene. It was good to read a story that engaged with the effects of current events on individual lives—and in a way that was not predictable or politically motivated. It’s a story I read over and over. It impresses me every time.
So I went to find out more about Danielle Evans, and it turns out this was not even her first story in BASS! She first appeared in BASS 2008 with her story “Virgins,” originally published in The Paris Review. Her short story collection Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self won all sorts of awards, and she did all of this while still shockingly young. I look forward to reading whatever she publishes next.