18 Lies and 3 Truths

(Anthology; Narrative Library, 2007)

18 Lies and 3 Truths showcases classic works by contemporary masters alongside new works from young and upcoming writers. Collected here are Jhumpa Lahiri’s first published story and Lorrie Moore’s second, as well as early works by Joyce Carol Oates, T. C. Boyle, Richard Bausch, and Robert Olen Butler; there are new stories by writers at the top of their craft—Alice Hoffman, X. J. Kennedy—and from emerging writers piecing together their first collections. Taken collectively, the range of fiction in the volume profiles American short story writing across three decades: Lahiri and Moore’s early stories embody prodigious talents that foreshadow the kind of sophistication displayed in their subsequent works and the art of the other masters in the collection. The editors have also included three works of nonfiction in which writers address the art of fiction. The last of these, a series of pages from Gail Godwin’s working journal, binds the collection entire: here is the mature writer musing on life and wrestling with her fiction in paragraphs that turn from descriptions of her cat in a sun-filled window to the rogue whose story is taking shape in her novel in progress. 18 Lies and 3 Truths is both a top-flight collection of short fiction and an inspiring, rigorously formed compendium of writing as life.

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