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Minnetonka Review – Summer 2007

The extremely high quality of the very first issue of Minnetonka Review – a varied, 170 pages of short-stories, poetry, non-fiction and an excerpt of a novel and interview of the author – is set at the very beginning. My breath was taken away by Robin Lippincott’s “Hibakuska (August 6, 1945)” from his novel, In the Meantime. The excerpt is from Japan shortly after the dropping of the first A-bomb – and Lippincott manages to make us believe he was there, and a native. It is so gripping, I was ashamed of being an American as I read of the destruction wrought there as told through the poetic, fatalistic eyes of a young Japanese man.

The extremely high quality of the very first issue of Minnetonka Review – a varied, 170 pages of short-stories, poetry, non-fiction and an excerpt of a novel and interview of the author – is set at the very beginning. My breath was taken away by Robin Lippincott’s “Hibakuska (August 6, 1945)” from his novel, In the Meantime. The excerpt is from Japan shortly after the dropping of the first A-bomb – and Lippincott manages to make us believe he was there, and a native. It is so gripping, I was ashamed of being an American as I read of the destruction wrought there as told through the poetic, fatalistic eyes of a young Japanese man.

An imaginative non-fiction tale, part travelogue, part adventure story, part drama, is told with pathos and heart by Carol Severino in “Learning Kichwa Family Style.” It’s about a woman travelling to Ecuador, learning the ancient native tongue, as well as lessons in life from the natives. “Surface Tension” by Allan Douglass Coleman is a thought-provoking poem, visually arranged, about the inevitability of death. It asks: “does it simply blossom from within, inhere / death, latent, blooming red blush on a green tomato…?”

Further examples of quality poetry are Jae Newman’s “Mother Tree” and “White Crane.” The latter is a brief, poignant snapshot of life in the DMV that stuns with its vividness. For a story to put you on the edge of your seat, there’s “A Kind of Eden” by Bev Jafek. This 26-page epic depicts two lesbians adventuring to paradise and descending to hell. It is told in both the first and third person, smoothly, beginning innocuously, then becoming dangerously fast-paced and heart-pounding.

The cover art is a dreamy view of a prairie river by Keith Demanche that reflects the highly colorful ingredients that make up this journal – the maiden voyage of the Minnetonka Review is a ride you must catch.
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