It’s not to say that the selections contained in The O. Henry Prize Stories 2008 are, as a rule, without merit. To make that sort of claim would defy critical logic by pretty much any acceptable manner of measurement. After all, you have the works of Alice Munro, Ha Jin, and Steven Milhauser contained within these estimable pages. But it would also defy logic to say that the book subtitled “The Best Stories of the Year” displays the kind of writing that is going to send readers dashing to their desks in the dead of night to pound out prose in a hopeless attempt to somehow match the deathless stories they have just themselves read.
The O. Henry Prize Stories 2008 edition is in stores now. The full review, as often is the case, can be found at PopMatters.