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Although this particular journal includes quite a bit of nonfiction (which isn't my favorite, as a whole), their fiction is always interesting. In particular, I enjoyed:

"Sonny Boy" by Josh Denslow -- There are several stories about young men poised on the brink, preparing to move on into adult life. However, this story moves beyond the average, detailing the main character's (nicknamed Meat Locker) realization of how the "adult" world works. His fixation on Sonny Boy, who seems lightyears beyond his coworkers at the grocery store, underscores Meat Locker's need for direction. His anger issues, his distrust of authority, and his willingness to go along with the crowd all contribute to his childish nature. This is an excellent portrayal of how one person begins to understand that life is a series of abstractions; that nothing is ever easy or simple.

"Patterns" by Randall Brown -- This story has a unique form: divided under headings like "rising action" and "anti-climax." It is actually a wonderful blueprint for an aspiring short story writer, as it chronicles a single change in the main character's life and tracks the emotional fallout. The main character finds out that his seventy-five year old father (who has been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease) is hooking up "in the biblical sense" with Kendra, who went to high school with the main character. The main strength of this piece is it's economy: every words counts. The almost compact nature of the story complements the main character's attempt to enforce nonchalance concerning his father's choices.

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talekyn
Sep. 15th, 2008 04:20 am (UTC)
Stories that are set up to tell a story while also teaching how to tell a story can be so mishandled it isn't funny. I enjoyed the one in "Wastelands" that detailed how to write a post-apocalyptic story; "Patterns" also sounds interesting.

And "Sonny Boy," from the way that you described it, sounds like it can not end well for the title character.

Another literary journal I've not heard of before ... another to possibly seek out someday!
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