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The Missouri Review – 2004

Volume 27


Christopher Mote

“Tell me about loneliness,” begins Peter Selgin’s arresting short story, “Color of the Sea.”

“Tell me about loneliness,” begins Peter Selgin’s arresting short story, “Color of the Sea.” There isn’t a writer in this collection who doesn’t know loneliness, whether by the nature of the craft or the scope of their experience, and yet reading this “Solo” themed issue of The Missouri Review is a communal act: there is unity in that feeling of alone. The centerpiece is a collection of unpublished letters by prolific author Ray Bradbury. Although easily dismissed as a sci-fi pulp storyteller, Bradbury reveals himself in his correspondence to be a writer of wide tastes dedicated steadfast to his work; his inclusion here shows how his contributions to American literature (viz. Fahrenheit 451 and Something Wicked This Way Comes) deserve careful reevaluation. The creative nonfiction in TMR, meanwhile, fits in so well that it’s almost indistinguishable from its fictional counterparts. Steve Salerno’s “‘The Feel of Nothing’” is a testament to an aspiring athlete’s religious-like devotion to the pitching machine. Every detail of the experience is pure and exact: for Salerno, the batting cage becomes shelter and creates meaning. And then there’s “Color of the Sea,” an instant classic about a brief rendezvous between perfect strangers on the island of Crete. Selgin’s tale belongs to the Hemingway tradition of stories about the soul-searching American who discovers himself abroad; the questions it asks about the human condition are both contemporary and timeless. Forget highbrow and lowbrow. If you’re looking for a straightforward portfolio of the many faces of great literature, dive right in. [The Missouri Review, 1507 Hillcrest Hall, University of Missouri, Columbia MO 65211. E-mail: [email protected]. Single issue $7.95. www.missourireview.com] – Christopher Mote

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