Buddha killer Alex Rose, “best of the ‘Best'”

Killing the Buddha contributing editor Alex Rose’s story “Ostracon” is featured in the 2009 edition of The Best American Short Stories, selected this year by novelist Alice Sebold. In today’s Wall Street Journal, critic Diane Scharper singles out Alex’s story for special praise:

Perhaps the best of the “Best” is Alex Rose’s “Ostracon,” a story that reflects what Edward O’Brien, the originator of this anthology series in 1926, called “the artist’s power of compelling imaginative persuasion.” Inspired by his grandmother’s life, Mr. Rose tells the story of an old woman, Katya, who misplaces her glasses—a seemingly prosaic domestic drama, until we realize that Katya has Alzheimer’s. The story is graced with lovely, understated moments—”The muted scent of frost and peat leaks into the living room from the thawing backyard.”

But the power of the piece is in how closely Mr. Rose brings us to a moment of truth—a house where grandchildren are coming for a Seder but where the cutlery lies unwashed in a kitchen drawer, where the checkbook is in disarray—that captures the pathos of old age.

Read Alex Rose’s “Ostracon.”

Read Alex’s writing on Killing the Buddha.

Jeff Sharlet is a founding editor of Killing the Buddha, coauthor with Peter Manseau of Killing the Buddha: A Heretic's Bible (2004) and co-editor of Believer, Beware (2009). Sharlet is also the author of Sweet Heaven When I Die, (2011), C Street, (2010), and the New York Times bestseller The Family (2008).