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Hobart – Winter 2004-2005

Now this is a great magazine. Short, quirky writing that takes itself seriously but is not without a sense of humor. Think of it as a McSweeney’s for very short fiction (most of the stories here are between two and six pages). Perhaps the similarities are due to guest editor Ryan Boudinot, a McSweeney’s contributor who includes two excellent Icelandic authors in this issue who also appear in the new McSweeney’s. Now this is a great magazine. Short, quirky writing that takes itself seriously but is not without a sense of humor. Think of it as a McSweeney’s for very short fiction (most of the stories here are between two and six pages). Perhaps the similarities are due to guest editor Ryan Boudinot, a McSweeney’s contributor who includes two excellent Icelandic authors in this issue who also appear in the new McSweeney’s. Regardless, the fiction in this issue is first-rate. The cover image, by Marcel Dzama, is an illustration of two Aimee Bender stories that which bookend the fiction here about a skeleton and devil who row naked families across a lake of fire. Absurd and great. Other highlights include the poetic short-short “The Groom Smokes” by Rick Moody about a man delaying his wedding as “the dusk exercises its influence over him” and Tao Lin’s unsettling tale of a woman deciding to go back to sleep as her house is robbed. I could continue, but there are too many good stories to discuss in this short review. Hobart #4 gets my full recommendation. [Hobart, PO Box 1658, Ann Arbor, MI 48103. Single issue $10. www.hobartpulp.com] – Lincoln Michel

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