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Fantastic Fantasy

The third edition of the anthology Best American Fantasy has just been published and features what Publisher’s Weekly calls “20 eclectic and exceptional stories that graft fantasy with realistic fiction.” Included among the authors is none other than Stephen King. But two of the 20 stories are by writers with Washington and Lee ties.

Chris Gavaler is visiting assistant professor of English at W&L. An award-winning playwright, Chris is the author of “Is,” a story that appeared first in the New England Review. Rebecca Makkai is a 1999 graduate of Washington and Lee and was the subject of a September 2009 blog entry about her inclusion in Best American Short Stories. Her story is titled “Couple of Lovers on a Red Background,” and it was previously published in Brilliant Corners.

The anthology was edited by novelist Kevin Brockmeier, who cites both Chris and Rebecca in his introduction when he writes, “there are stories in which ordinary people are confronted with the fantastic and use its mechanisms to understand their own histories, such as … Chris Gavaler’s doorway between a forgotten childhood and an inharmonious present, … and Rebecca Makkai’s teasingly yearning composer-out-of-time fable. (Makkai’s story “The Briefcase,” by the way, from the same issue of The New England Review as Chris Gavaler’s, was bar none the finest non-fantasy story I read this year. Seek it out.)”

While you’re seeking out that edition of The New England Review (you can read “The Briefcase” online on its Web site) be sure to seek out Real Unreal: Best American Fantasy 3, which is available on Amazon. Congratulations to both Chris and Rebecca.

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