I’ve read through the eight stories in the first release of the New Yorker’s “20 Under 40” and decided it was time to start my own list.  After some deliberation, I decided not to break it down to best piece of fiction or best short story.  The two are different, but there’s only two stories that have me on the fence.  “Twins” by C. E. Morgan is a better piece of prose, but “The Kid” by Salvatore Scibona is a better short story.  Here goes:

1) “What You Do Out Here, When You’re Alone” by Philipp Meyer
2) “Twins” by C. E. Morgan
3) “The Kid” by Salvatore Scibona
4) “Lenny Hearts Eunice” by Gary Shteyngart
5) “Here We Aren’t, So Quickly” by Jonathan Safran Foer
6) “Dayward” by ZZ Packer
7) “The Entire North Side Was Covered With Fire” by Rivka Galchen
8) “The Pilot” by Joshua Ferris

It’s tough toward the end.  I might have set “Lenny Hearts Eunice” a little too high in the list, and while “The Pilot” had it’s moments, it just took too long to build up to a punchline.

Interestingly, the story most searched for is “Here We Aren’t, So Quickly.”

2 thoughts on “Best of “20 Under 40””

  1. >I agree with your choice for #1. Philipp Meyer knocked me down with his short story–not just because of his strong prose, but also through his ability to see and communicate the ideas going through Max's head. His short story was really impressive. I'm going to be checking out his novel.

  2. >I agree with Meyer at the top. I thought some of his sentence-level construction was wonky at times, but the sentiment behind the story never flagged.

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