After a string of elaborately presented thematic issues, McSweeney’s returns with a back-to-basics issue.
After a string of elaborately presented thematic issues, McSweeney’s returns with a back-to-basics issue. No 20-minute stories or bonus DVDs, just a sleek collection of great cutting-edge fiction (and one investigation into giant Chinese rodents.) Many of the stories here are told from the perspective of inventive and unusual characters: A Roman solider guarding the empire’s northern front (“Hadrian’s Wall”); a terminally ill girl who writes stories about zoo animals suffering from their own diseases (“A Child’s Book of Sickness and Death”); three historic personalities that were beheaded (“Three Pieces of Severance”); and Spain’s most famous female Matadora (“The Death of Mustango Slalvaje”). The latter story, by Jessica Anthony, is the recipient of The Amanda Davis Highwire Fiction Award and if you simply do not have the money to buy this issue, I’d strongly urge you to go to the bookstore and read this story straight from the rack. Although, there is honestly not a single page worth skipping here, which seems to be a common phenomenon with McSweeney’s. Come to think of it, why don’t you have a subscription already? [McSweeney’s, 826 Valencia St., San Francisco, CA 94110. E-mail: lett[email protected]. Single issue $15. http://www.mcsweeneys.net