March 26th, 2012 / 8:01 am
Vicarious MFA

The Best Recent Stories: The Results

A little while ago, I asked you all to name “the best story that you’ve read in the past few years.” I deliberately didn’t define “best.” After the jump, I’ve compiled what you said …


  1. The results are in reverse chronological order, then alphabetical order by author’s first name.
  2. I’ve also included links when I could. Otherwise, you’re going to have to Google/buy a book.

OK, here are the stories!



  • Adam Peterson’s “It Goes Without Saying” (in Camera Obscura #3)
  • Alissa Nutting: “She-Male” (from Unclean Jobs for Women and Girls)
  • Ashley Farmer: “Digging Deep” (in kill author #15)
  • Anthony Luebbert: “Bobby Kennedy and His Sea Lion Sandy” (in Quick Fiction)
  • Ben Lerner: “Leaving the Atocha Station” (from Leaving the Atocha Station)
  • Casey Hannan: “Piano Hands” (in PANK)
  • Charles Dodd White: “Winter by Heart” (in PANK)
  • Colm Toibin: “The Street” (in McSweeney’s #36)
  • George Saunders: “Home” (in The New Yorker)
  • Hannah Voskuil: “Currents” (from Sudden Fiction Youth)
  • Jeremy Robert Johnson: “Persistence Hunting” (from We Live Inside You)
  • Jon Trobaugh: “L’Anguille” (in TRNSFR #4)
  • Kirsty Logan: “Underskirts” (in PANK)
  • Leslie Bazzett: “Screen Test” (in New England Review, V. 32, #2)
  • Mary Stone: “We Will Plan Big Things” (in kill author #15)
  • Mike Meginnis: “The Navigators” (in Hobart #12)
  • Nathaniel Rich: “The Northeast Kingdom” (in McSweeney‘s #38)
  • Pinckney Benedict: “The Beginning’s of Sorrow” (from Miracle Boy and Other Stories)
  • Scott McClanahan: “any story in Stories V!”
  • Ysabel Sex: “Fuck Coolhunter” (I looked for this but couldn’t find it, sorry.)


  • Aimee Bender: “The Color Master” (in Cincinnati Review and from My Mother She Killed Me My, Father He Ate Me)
  • Allyson Armistead: “Oasis” (in eight cuts)
  • Amanda Goldblatt: “If Your Light Must Leave You” (in The Collagist)
  • Angi Becker Stevens: “The Opposite of Free” (in Wigleaf)
  • April Ayers Lawson: “Virgin” (in The Paris Review)
  • Deborah Willis: “Remember, Relive” (from Vanishing and Other Stories)
  • Elaine Castillo: “Graphy, or The Girlhood of Achilles” (in PANK)
  • Heidi Julavits: “Multiples of Cohen” (in Harper’s)
  • Ingvar Ambjornsen: “Another Star” (in McSweeney’s 35)
  • Jennifer Egan: “A Visit from the Goon Squad” (from A Visit from the Goon Squad)
  • Matt Bell: “Dredge” (in Hayden’s Ferry Review #45)
  • Rachel B. Glaser: “The Monkey Handler” (from Pee on Water)
  • Roxane Gay: “Do You Have a Place For Me” (in spork)
  • Roxane Gay: “La Negra Blanca” (in The Collagist)
  • Seth Fried: “Those of Us in Plaid” (in McSweeney’s #33)
  • Stepen A. Dixon: “Wife in Reverse” (in matchbook)


  • Amina Cain: “Black Wings” (from I Go to Some Hollow)
  • Sam Pink: “Saved by the Bell” (in Titular)
  • Steve Almond: “Donkey Greedy, Donkey Get Punched” (in Tin House)
  • Ted Chiang: “Exhalation” (in Eclipse Two)


  • Brian Van Reet: “The Rooster” (in Shenandoah vol. 58 #1)
  • Glen Pouciau: “Claim ” (in The Paris Review)
  • Jill McCorkle: “Magic Words” (in Narrative Magazine)
  • Kyle Minor: “They Take You” (in Pilots With Guns #3)
  • Mary Ruefle: “A Half-Sketched Head” (from The Most of It)


  • George Saunders: “Puppy” (in The New Yorker)



  • Brian Evenson: “Mudder Tongue” (in McSweeney’s #16)
  • James Salter: “Last Night” (from Last Night)
  • Jeremy Robert Johnson: “Swimming in the House of the Sea” (from Angel Dust Apocalypse)


  • Chuck Palahniuk: “Guts” (in Playboy)
  • Brian Evenson: “Moran’s Mexico” (from The Wavering Knife)
  • David Foster Wallace: “Incarnations of Burned Children” (from Oblivion)


  • Sherman Alexie: “What You Pawn I Will Redeem” (in The New Yorker)

older stuff

  • Spencer Holst: “Brilliant Science” (from Brilliant Science, 2000)
  • William Gay: “The Paperhanger” (in Harper’s, 2000)
  • Joshua Ferris: “Mrs. Blue” (in The Iowa Review V. 29, #2, pp. 34–46, Fall 1999)
  • Ken Kalfus: “Pu-239” (from Pu-239 and Other Russian Fantasies, 1999)
  • Gene Wolfe: “Tracking Song” (in The Island of Doctor Death and Other Stories, 1997)
  • Greg Egan: “Crystal Nights” (from Crystal Nights and Other Stories, 1997) (PDF)
  • A.M. Homes: “A Real Doll” (in Barcelona Review, 1990)
  • Gene Wolfe: “Seven American Nights” (from Sailing to Byzantium/Seven American Nights, 1989)
  • Barry Hannah: “Testimony of Pilot” (from Airships, 1974)
  • Stephen King: “Cain Rose Up” (in Ubis, 1968, and from Skeleton Crew, 1985)

+ there was a vote for “Blake Butler’s coming of age story in an airport shuttle filled w/ doe-eyed clergymen”

Now go enjoy!



  1. Mr. Frank Rodriguez

      Damn, just when I said I wasn’t going to add stuff to Kindle until I read the 13 pages of stuff I have in there. But I should check some of these out! Thanks.

  2. Mr. Frank Rodriguez

      Don’t add it to the list or anything, but for anyone reading I really liked the Chris Adrian story in the Evil issue of Tin House.

  3. A D Jameson

      Sure thing!

  4. A D Jameson

       The comments will serve as this post’s appendix. Thanks!

  5. Andreas Lindhquist

      Wonderful package. I’ll try to read/re-read them all.

      I’ll throw in The Whitman of Tikrit, by Jarett Kobek.

      And a slight correction: Crystal Nights and Other Stories was published by Subterranean Press in 2009, and the story Crystal Nights was first published in Interzone 215, April 2008.

  6. Anonymous

       sausage/fest, sausage.fest, sausage-fest. for how many years listed were all the “best” stories written by men? are there any years listed when all the “best” stories were by women?

      this list gets seen and re-seen, posted and re-posted. we continue a conversation where men as default go on as the best cultural creators of recent date.

      bullshit! bull/shit. bull-shit.

  7. Beth Ann Spencer

      Looks as though 2010 was pretty good for women …

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