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Five Points – 2004

The work in Five Points boasts a consistently down-home earnestness. The work in Five Points boasts a consistently down-home earnestness. Each of the five short stories, though ranging broadly in style, have a refreshingly un-ironic quality. Given the risks inherent in such authorial sincerity, I tended to find lapses in craft forgivable. Even if some plot twists here and there struck me as a bit too nakedly contrived, I was happy to find myself privy again and again to the emotional core of one character or another. Three out of the five authors here hail from the south, and the fictional lineup seems unified by the absorbing quietness, depth, and ultimate penchant for the heartbreaking or the horrible that distinguishes the best southern writing. Nancy Reisman’s story “The Cold Blue of Delaware Park” gives good reason to anticipate the forthcoming novel from which it is excerpted. In its portrait of a lonely, middle aged woman and her relationship to her verbally abusive mother, this piece positively levitates on craftsmanship, lyrical and potent. “She has on this earth one mother, a mother she wishes to forget, whose love is the color of bruises and who will, if you ignore her, haunt you into the next world.” An essay by Algonquin editor Shannon Ravenel, singing praises to the tradition of lit mags in America, is also enjoyable, as is the interview with poet Hayden Carruth. [Five Points, MSC 8R0318, Georgia State University, 33 Gilmer St. SE, Unit 8, Atlanta, GA 30303-3083. Single issue $7. http://www.webdelsol.com/Five_Points] –MC

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