StoryQuarterly, an annual lit mag out of Chicago, is a tome of pure fiction that, if somewhat uneven, is never dissatisfying.
StoryQuarterly, an annual lit mag out of Chicago, is a tome of pure fiction that, if somewhat uneven, is never dissatisfying. The stories here range from minutely crafted and often beguiling flash fictions to virtual novellas. Then too you’ll find translations, such as Amy Schildhouse Greenberg’s interpretations of Mexican writer Angeles Mastretta’s “Tia” vignettes. And finally StoryQuarterly 39 features an intriguing black & white photo essay by photographer Christy Karpinski. Even with such a scope of material, no single genre feels crowded for space, since this issue weighs in at 500-plus pages. Only a handful of stories seem somewhat ill-contrived, but they are couched in a body of such fine work that you choose not to notice. Among the gems are Michael Knight’s “Smash and Grab,” the tale of a civilized burglar caught up in the teenage angst of a spoiled but under-loved girl out to teach her wealthy parents a lesson, and Michael Poore’s “Chief Next Lightning’s Phantom Hand,” which is so rich with sad humor, so lovingly wrought, that it delivers full-force the bittersweet, fleeting pleasure of the short story at its most perfect. Dan O’Brien’s “Apocrypha” is also fine, adeptly handling the quirks and diversions of memory lent to the aims of story. [StoryQuarterly, 431 Sheridan Rd., Kenilworth, IL 60043. Single issue $10. http://www.storyquarterly.com] – MC