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ISBN 186207464X / 9781862074644 / 1-86207-464-XFind This Book
The First Twenty-One Years showcases, year by year, some of the finest writing (fiction, memoir and reportage) to have been featured in Granta magazine since its inception in 1979. Ranging from authors as important and unique as Raymond Carver (whose 1981 story "Vitamins" is a compelling example of why he should be seen as one of the finest short story writers ever) to Nobel Prize-winning Nadine Gordimer (whose moving "A City of the Dead, A City of the Living" articulates the awful melancholic claustrophobia of poverty as well as she ever has done), this collection proves, once again, how good Granta is.
Disappointingly slight pieces from Salman Rushdie and Primo Levi are more than made up for by the robust, polemical and still challenging "The End of the English Novel" by Bill Buford and the interesting range of voices (from George Steiner to Mircea Dinescu) that make up the meditation on "The State of Europe". The year 2000's piece "Editing Vidia", Diana Athill's account of working with VS Naipaul proves, if proof were needed, that Granta continues to be able to commission and publish hugely entertaining and well-written pieces and continues to make, in the words of Newsweek magazine, "a stunning contribution to contemporary literature". --Mark Thwaite [via]