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Other Voices – Fall/Winter 2007

My most vivid memory of Chicago is talking to an old, toothless bag lady near a bus station toting her shopping cart, about 1980. She looked at me with great conviction, and said, “The lord is coming!” She seemed intelligent, most striking, and was definitely listening to a different drummer, predicting the end of all things. Other Voices has come to its end, and is equally striking, colorful, even mesmerizing. The last issue is a special “all-Chicago issue,” consisting of twenty-two short stories by both established and new Chicago writers, plus two interviews and a splash of reviews.

My most vivid memory of Chicago is talking to an old, toothless bag lady near a bus station toting her shopping cart, about 1980. She looked at me with great conviction, and said, “The lord is coming!” She seemed intelligent, most striking, and was definitely listening to a different drummer, predicting the end of all things. Other Voices has come to its end, and is equally striking, colorful, even mesmerizing. The last issue is a special “all-Chicago issue,” consisting of twenty-two short stories by both established and new Chicago writers, plus two interviews and a splash of reviews.

The interviews with Audrey Niffenegger (by Megan Stielstra) and Aleksandar Hemon (by Barry Pearce) give good insight into the process of creation the authors go through in birthing their work. Niffenegger describes her research, fact checking, and how she finds inspiration for her stories. Hemon discusses his sensibilities, opinions of other authors, and his feel for other cultures and languages.

The short stories in Other Voices tend toward the ambitious, many dealing with the idiosyncrasies of life, love, and the craziness of trying to find it, and living life lustily. We’ve all heard the cliché, “there’s someone for everyone,” most often used in reference to someone “odd.” Jonathan Messinger put a man in “Hiding Out” whose life seems to be a little too story-book smooth for a man who e-mails himself constantly at his job, and begins getting strange e-mails from himself he doesn’t remember sending, concerning a woman. A thoughtful, yet hilariously twisted tale. Then there’s “In the Days of Allende,” by Eugene Wildman. A man has a fierce romance with a very independent photographer who confesses a dark secret. What comes of it is a very old tale, yet fresh and unique. “Incredible” is the title and the best description of the story by Megan Strielstra. A woman is rejected by many lovers, but not by the “Incredible Hulk” underneath her bed – is she nuts?

Touching, funny, winning, and satisfying. These are finely-crafted short stories of substance, down-to-earth Chicago cuisine, at its finest.
[www.othervoicesmagazine.org]

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