Sunday, April 25, 2010

"The Receiving Tower," by Matt Bell

The opening is clear yet disorienting, a characteristic of the poetic language that sustains this story to the end. “Most nights, we climb to the tower’s roof to stand together beneath the satellite dishes, where we watch the hundreds of meteorites fall through the aurora and across the arctic sky. …Once, Cormack stood beside me and prayed aloud that one might crash into the receiving tower instead and free us all. Once, I knew which one of us Cormack actually was.” It’s an intriguing story where memory dims and hope is even dimmer. The ending is a knockout, leaving this reader pondering the mutable nature of consciousness. Read it here at Willow Springs.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

"The Stranger Room," by Susan Tekulve

This story takes place somewhere in the South, in coal country in 1963. It’s a rugged place where the people who are deeply tied to the animals and nature outlive the defeated plans of big money dreams of coal company operators. My reading recalled the setting and tone of an early novel, Lamb in His Bosom by Caroline Miller, the 1933 novel that in the following year was awarded the Pulitzer, a first for a Georgia writer. A pregnant teenager in both stories is portrayed with the manners and bravery of her culture and both works are written with a definitive voice of authority. Read the short story here in Serving House Journal.

Monday, April 12, 2010

"Little Life," by Walter Cummins

Where I live nearly everyone has a pet; a dog or two, a bird, or cat. These domesticated animals offer faithful, unrequited love beyond strained human relationships. It’s not easy to write a dog or cat story. There are so many of them and often they rely on cliché. But the writing here keeps the focus on the main character who has her share of conflicts. No matter where she turns in the story, love appears distantly out of reach except for the stray cat that has come into her life. But she receives compassion and strength from an unexpected source. Read it here in Perigee.

Friday, April 9, 2010

"Slopes,' by Wendy Fox

An intriguing opening chapter of a forthcoming novel, this story reads with mystery, the intrigue of a Turkish village, minarets and volcanic snow slopes. Two people, separately married, have left America to find something of themselves and in each other. When Yasemin the older woman tells the young American Laura, “you have to be careful with the men here,” the reader’s not sure if the reference is better suited to the male ex-pat, Paul, who is confident with his art installations. The writing flows and the promise of mystery and romance draw this reader far beyond the end of the story here at Apple Valley Review.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

"Sundries," by Tiff Holland

There is no doubt that fast food, fast money via ATMs, and fast checkouts at the likes of CVS have become the substance of culture for some. In this piece, I feel the tightened trappings and the quiet desperation of this narrator looking for an exit. The way in which this narrator survives is tenuous and drew me in wondering about her afterward. Read it here in Mississippi Review.