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Quay – May/June 2007

A new journal appearing both in print and online, Quay offers a crisp collection of fiction, non-fiction and drama. The print issue’s format (almost square) is unusual without trying too hard, and the same is true for the content. One of my favorites among the fiction pieces was J.P. Briggs’s “American Debut,” in which an agent and a producer discuss a starlet called Eva, “the next big icon of a generation,” while “[t]he snakes darted and skimmed in the swimming pool with their arrow heads flexed above the blue water.” I was also impressed with Myfanwy Collins’s “Cowless, Rainbowless,” a sequence of vignettes revealing the narrator’s hurt in nightmarish slow-motion. The beauty of the writing is an almost perfidious contrast to the narrator’s pain and loneliness. Completely different in style: Scott Humfeld’s “Capt. Spaulding and the Missing Motor,” a tale set in the Peruvian jungle, delivered with the authority and wit of first-hand experience.

A new journal appearing both in print and online, Quay offers a crisp collection of fiction, non-fiction and drama. The print issue’s format (almost square) is unusual without trying too hard, and the same is true for the content. One of my favorites among the fiction pieces was J.P. Briggs’s “American Debut,” in which an agent and a producer discuss a starlet called Eva, “the next big icon of a generation,” while “[t]he snakes darted and skimmed in the swimming pool with their arrow heads flexed above the blue water.” I was also impressed with Myfanwy Collins’s “Cowless, Rainbowless,” a sequence of vignettes revealing the narrator’s hurt in nightmarish slow-motion. The beauty of the writing is an almost perfidious contrast to the narrator’s pain and loneliness. Completely different in style: Scott Humfeld’s “Capt. Spaulding and the Missing Motor,” a tale set in the Peruvian jungle, delivered with the authority and wit of first-hand experience.

While I enjoyed most of the fiction, I was blown away by the dramatic writing – brilliant one-act mini-plays, all of them funny, profound, ready to be performed. Wow! This is new. It’s hard to find a favorite among the four offerings from Lisa Soland, David Robson, Timothy Braun, and Ross Brown – I recommend you pick up an issue of Quay and read them all.

The non-fiction offerings were exceptional, too. Matthew M. Quick’s “One Cigarette a Day,” a loving memory of his grandfather (and the many cigarettes he smoked) thankfully avoids “just quit” slogans in favor of honest exploration of the meaning of smoking: “Whenever I smell cigarette smoke now, I think first about my grandfather, then about how many inhalations I have left, and I slow my breath and breathe in deliberately and savor the filling of my lungs.” Neil Landau’s prose-poem “Foregone Conclusions” reflects on aging and death and exposes our inadequate dealings with these issues with an acuity that belies the dreamy, free-associative format.

I read Quay on a plane and found it very absorbing – An interesting new journal that opts for the quirky and unusual without sacrificing substance. I look forward to Issue 2.
[http://www.quayjournal.org]

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