Chad Schimke

Saturday, September 3, 2011

BEST OF THE WEST

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

BEST OF THE WEST - The Best of the West, An Anthology of Classic Writing from the American West is edited by Tony Hillerman. In theory, this type of book is great…it’s a grab and go anthology; focused on a single topic. When I first pick up this sort of book, I scan the table of contents. In this case, the topics sound exciting: from the original westerners, to law and order, to shorts and fiction excerpts. I really liked the sections that focused on history, letters, memoirs and reports. I was VERY disappointed in the fiction selections. It Must be Something Exciting by Wallace Stegner was the best fiction selection in Best of West. This anthology is remiss by not including two of the best short fiction works in the classic western genre. In my opinion, the first omission - Paso Por Aqui by Eugene Manlove Rhodes is a well-crafted short that includes vivid characters, compelling settings and demonstrates great respect for history. My second omission - Pale Horse, Pale Rider by Katherine Anne Porter is a very different short, dealing with the plight of women, family relations and tragic circumstances.



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