Summer 2014: The Infinite Variety of Things Told
One hundred pages of fiction in this issue dedicated to the craft and its criticism! New stories by old friends and favorites, Ernest J. Finney, Nancy Huddleston Packer, Kent Nelson, and John J. Clayton; as well as by newcomer Susan McCallum-Smith. We welcome two more new contributors to the SR this summer: Gavin Cologne-Brookes, taking an uncommon approach to one of William Styron’s less fruitful efforts; and H. Gaston Hall reflecting on Kathryn Stockett’s blockbuster as personal memoir. Reviews include fiction by Peter Makuck and Dara Horn, as well as by Man Booker Prize finalists—NoViolet Bulawayo, Eleanor Catton, Jim Crace, Jhumpa Lahiri, Ruth Ozeki, and Colm Tóibín—by Merritt Moseley in his annual report of Europe’s (and Canada’s and Zimbabwe’s) most prestigious literary honor—soon to include, begrudgingly, the United States. Jeffrey Meyers also reviews the letters of J. F. Powers, edited by his daughter, and James L. W. West III examines John Irwin examining F. Scott Fitzgerald.
Too many days spent with nautical charts convinced her that accepting him might cause his life to be forfeited. Fate would unmask her greedy desire for happiness far above the common lot and punish her accordingly. When offered cake in Scotland, you never dare lift the largest slice.
—Susan McCallum-Smith, “Lives Half-Lived”
In an issue like this one, in which we’ve cast a wide net, it’s interesting to discover the serendipitous coincidences in what we pull in. This issue drifts inexorably toward the American West and California, the setting of two of the five stories, and a major player in Robert Lacy’s profile of Joan Didion. And Norman Mailer pops up twice: once in Donald Pizer’s essay launched by a paper Mailer gave at the MLA in 1965 on Theodore Dreiser; and again in David Heddendorf’s engaging piece on the literary feud—distinct from the literary rivalry and falling out, and exemplified by Mailer and Vidal, McCarthy and Hellman, and Thackeray and Dickens.
Also awaiting your discovery this summer is a great piece of debunkery (may it be so, wink) by Edwin M. Yoder, Jr., of a story in the life of Henry James that has “flourished like biographical kudzu”; a deep meditation on time by Michael Mott as his understandable response to the loss (or gain) of 150 hours of his life to Proust’s masterpiece on audiobook; revaluations by Mr. Core of Robertson Davies’s trilogies and by Joan Givner of Merrill Joan Gerber’s recently reissued novel, The Hysterectomy Waltz; and excellent verse by Fred Chappell , Gladys Swan, Len Krisak, and T. Alan Broughton.
Check out some samples of this issue's content.
Fiction: from "Animal Tracks" by Ernest J. Finney.
Poetry: "Gathering Driftwood" by Gladys Swan.