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Mid-American Review – Fall 2006

If one looked for themes in this splendid and beautifully presented collection, it would have to be drug addiction, past or present, in each of the four fictions: “The Yoshi Compound: A Story of Post-Waco Texas,” is a delightful satire of phony spirituality by Todd James Pierce; Rebecca Rasmussen’s “Partway,” is a terrific story of a drug addict’s daughter and the people who love her; “The Girl Who Drank Lye” by Colleen Curran traces the shocking decline of an ostracized fourteen-year-old picking up bad habits when befriended by the class bad girl. Jason Ockert’s “Piebald” tells the story of a father dying of some strange malady while mourning the death of his son, but, of course, it’s more complicated than that.

If one looked for themes in this splendid and beautifully presented collection, it would have to be drug addiction, past or present, in each of the four fictions: “The Yoshi Compound: A Story of Post-Waco Texas,” is a delightful satire of phony spirituality by Todd James Pierce; Rebecca Rasmussen’s “Partway,” is a terrific story of a drug addict’s daughter and the people who love her; “The Girl Who Drank Lye” by Colleen Curran traces the shocking decline of an ostracized fourteen-year-old picking up bad habits when befriended by the class bad girl. Jason Ockert’s “Piebald” tells the story of a father dying of some strange malady while mourning the death of his son, but, of course, it’s more complicated than that.

In non-fiction, Vishwas R. Gaitonde’s thoughtful “The Graveyard of Doubt”—linking the apostle Thomas to the arrival of Christianity in India—is worth the price of admission. “The Right Floor,” by Pappi Tomas, is an entertaining essay on floors of dirt, wood, carpet, etc.; Yasbel Fernandez-Acuna’s “Ghost Story” is pure delight: “And you misunderstood me; not everyone who hates their mother is a great writer, but all great writers hate their mother. Don’t get it confused.”

A fine selection of poetry includes “Chuck Norris” by Eliot Khalil Wilson as one of four Editors’ Choice Awards from the 2006 Fineline Competition, as well as the winner “Fish-Eye” by Ariana-Sophia Kartsonis, and some eighteen or twenty other poets, among them featured poet Erin Gay, and translations from Spanish and Chinese. In addition, the 2006 AWP Intro Journal Awards are here: Gavin Adair for “Fire in the Streets” (poem) and Nancy Loewen for “Harvest” (story). Plus more than a dozen excellent book reviews. Who could ask for anything more!
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