"In twenty-nine separate but ingenious ways, these stories seek permanent residence within a reader. They strive to become an emotional or intellectual cargo that might accompany us wherever, or however, we go. . . . If we are made by what we read, if language truly builds people into what they are, how they think, the depth with which they feel, then these stories are, to me, premium material for that construction project. You could build a civilization with them." --Ben Marcus, from the Introduction Award-winning author of Notable American Women Ben Marcus brings us this engaging and comprehensive collection of short stories that explore the stylistic variety of the medium in America today. Sea Oak by George Saunders Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned by Wells Tower Do Not Disturb by A.M. Homes The Girl in the Flammable Skirt by Aimee Bender The Caretaker by Anthony Doerr The Old Dictionary by Lydia Davis The Father's Blessing by Mary Caponegro The Life and Work of Alphonse Kauders by Aleksandar Hemon People Shouldn't Have to be the Ones to Tell You by Gary Lutz Histories of the Undead by Kate Braverman When Mr. Pirzada Came to Dine by Jhumpa Lahiri Down the Road by Stephen Dixon X Number of Possibilities by Joanna Scott Tiny, Smiling Daddy by Mary Gaitskill Brief Interviews with Hideous Men by David Foster Wallace The Sound Gun by Matthew Derby Short Talks by Anne Carson Field Events by Rick Bass Scarliotti and the Sinkhole by Padgett Powell From the Trade Paperback edition.