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Conjunctions – 2004

This beautifully bound, map-wrapped volume is a treasure of outstanding short stories and poetry with new work by familiar names as well as lesser known. The quest theme applies to almost anything, as editor Bradford Morrow acknowledges, having summoned the timeless Robert Coover (“Dragons have no sense of time [. . .],” from “Sir John Paper Returns to Honah-Lee,”), William Gas, (“The Piano Lesson,” and a great deal more), and John Barth’s forgiven archness in “I’ve been Told: A Story’s Story,” as well as Paul West’s “Slow Mergers of Local Stars” (it is not enough to simply kill a lion), and Joyce Carol Oates’s “The Gravedigger’s Daughter” – a mother and child on the lam.

This beautifully bound, map-wrapped volume is a treasure of outstanding short stories and poetry with new work by familiar names as well as lesser known. The quest theme applies to almost anything, as editor Bradford Morrow acknowledges, having summoned the timeless Robert Coover (“Dragons have no sense of time [. . .],” from “Sir John Paper Returns to Honah-Lee,”), William Gas, (“The Piano Lesson,” and a great deal more), and John Barth’s forgiven archness in “I’ve been Told: A Story’s Story,” as well as Paul West’s “Slow Mergers of Local Stars” (it is not enough to simply kill a lion), and Joyce Carol Oates’s “The Gravedigger’s Daughter” – a mother and child on the lam. Carole Maso’s brilliant “Young H Saved from Infamy”: “[. . .] young H is among those who have gained admission to the academy [. . .] See how the very world seems changed [. . .],” falls into the realm of would-that-it-were. Alai’s “Two Stories” derive from Tibetian folktale, with a dash of magic realism: “The moonlight burrowed out of the cluster of clouds and kept pace with his steps.” More magic realism in Jonathan Carroll’s “After having eaten the piece of the building, Allan Harris was transformed,” from “Home on the Rain.” From “Voyagers” by the extraordinary Frederic Tuten: “On reflection, that night when my trawler was diving down to Davy Jones’s Locker, I came to see–in that moment when death seemed just ahead–to appreciate her point.” And from the poignant “Kornia” by Elizabeth Hand: “Oh sure it takes a terrorist attack to hear from you.” A wonderful collection.

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