The Best American Essays 2022

Edited and with an Introduction by Alexander Chee
Robert Atwan, Series Editor

WHAT WRITING WILL OUTLIVE US? IN HIS INTRODUCTION, GUEST EDITOR Alexander Chee eloquently describes this year's Best American Essays as a "poker hand laid down in a bet against oblivion." And what an unbeatable hand this volume contains—twenty-three masterfully crafted essays brimming with insight and emotional truth. From a writer turning to an AI language generator to write about her sister's death, to a son grappling with the memory of his abusive mother, to a pilgrim walking in the shadow of a missing woman, these selections interrogate the past and illuminate the present. A stunning, eye-opening collection full of rich and diverse experiences, this enduring anthology will capture the heart and stay in the mind.

Copyright © 2022 by HarperCollins Publishers LLC.
Introduction copyright © 2022 by Alexander Chee.
ISSN 0888-3742
ISBN 978-0-358-65887-0


Foreword   ix

Introduction   xix

BRIAN BLANCHFIELD.   Abasement   1
       from Territory

ELISSA WASHUTA.   Drinking Story   5
       from Harper's Bazaar

DEBRA GWARTNEY.   Fire and Ice   10
       from Granta

VAUHINI VARA.   Ghosts   21
       from The Believer

MELISSA FEBOS.   The Wild, Sublime Body   35
       from The Yale Review

ANTHONY VEASNA SO.   Baby Yeah   43
       from n+I

JUNG HAE CHAE.   The Gye, the No-Name Hair Salon, the Coup d'Ètat, and the Small Dreamers   57
       from New England Review

JUSTIN TORRES.   It Had to Be Gold   71
       from Los Angeles Time Image

       from Harvard Review

NAOMI JACKSON.   Her Kind   92
       from Harper's Magazine

ANGELIQUE STEVENS.   Ghost Bread   105
       from Prism

LINA MOUNZER.   The Gamble   131
       from Freeman's

JASON BROWN.   The Wrong Jason Brown   109
       from The New Yorker

TANNER AKONI LAGUATAN.   Between These Lives, Azeroth   145
       from Wired

       from Ploughshares

ANDREA LONG CHU.   China Brain   165
       from n+I

KAITLYN GREENIDGE.   What She Would Always and Should Always Be Doing   182
       from BuzzFeed

GARY SHTEYNGART.   My Gentile Region   190
       from The New Yorker

JESUS QUINTERO.   Anatomy of a Botched Assimilation   208
       from Your Impossible Voice

ELIAS RODRIQUES.   Mother Country   231
       from Virginia Quarterly Review

AUBE REY LESCURE.   At the Bend of the Road   245
       from Guernica

ERIKA J. SIMPSON.   If You Ever Find Yourself   257
       from The Audacity

RYAN BRADLEY.   The Lost List   270
       from The Sewanee Review

Contributors' Notes   286

Notable Essays and Literary Nonfiction of 2014   291

Notable Special Issues of 2020   304

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