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Louisiana Literature – 2008

The special fiction issue of Louisiana Literature is full of ghosts. Each of the ten stories focuses on loss and loneliness. Together, they present a compelling picture of all the ways we get abandoned: by lovers, family members, pets, and even by our own sense of right and wrong.

The special fiction issue of Louisiana Literature is full of ghosts. Each of the ten stories focuses on loss and loneliness. Together, they present a compelling picture of all the ways we get abandoned: by lovers, family members, pets, and even by our own sense of right and wrong.

In the first story, “Eden’s Expressway” by Alan Ackmann, a man is haunted by the memory of an ex-girlfriend, whom he suspects has died in a vampire cult’s mass suicide. The darkness of their relationship contrasts with his current marriage, and he struggles to come to terms with both. Marjorie Kemper’s touching story, “The Nature Channel,” also deals with relationships, but this time, the couple is elderly. Nancy, the main character, has lived through a stroke and experienced the death of her best friend, and this closeness to life’s end affects the way she views events.

Other stories look at the more gruesome side of death, and the strain it puts on human morality. Jackie W. Jackson’s piece, “The Perfect Day,” reads like a parable. Daisy, the main character, is faced with a tragedy, makes the wrong choice, and gets punished by the writer. “A Courier Among Green Trees,” a McCarthyesque adventure story by Alex Taylor, features plenty of blood, guts and references to the Bible as the main character succumbs to depravity.

This issue of Louisiana Literature provides a wide range of reactions to death, from intense emotion to quiet reflection. Though none of the stories blew me away, they were all interesting and competently written, and the collection fits together nicely.
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