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The Missouri Review – Spring 2007

With The Missouri Review now accepting e-mail submissions, who can say what masterpieces will now arrive; although this issue seems to have been assembled without that benefit, it is an intriguing collection. In addition to slaking my thirst for good fiction – stories by Jacob M. Appel, Erica Johnson Debeljak, Rachel Swearingen, and others – the contents include essays, poetry, and an interview with the disarmingly honest David Sedaris: “I’m not apolitical; I just don’t consider myself an original thinker, [. . .] I’m more the kind of person who might read something and then try to pass it off as my own.”

With The Missouri Review now accepting e-mail submissions, who can say what masterpieces will now arrive; although this issue seems to have been assembled without that benefit, it is an intriguing collection. In addition to slaking my thirst for good fiction – stories by Jacob M. Appel, Erica Johnson Debeljak, Rachel Swearingen, and others – the contents include essays, poetry, and an interview with the disarmingly honest David Sedaris: “I’m not apolitical; I just don’t consider myself an original thinker, [. . .] I’m more the kind of person who might read something and then try to pass it off as my own.”

Especially noteworthy are this issue’s book reviews. From Steve Street’s knowledgeable review of The Jacoubian Building by Alaa al Aswany (translated by Humphrey Davies): “Controversy has surrounded this two-year Arabic-language best seller [. . .]. Readers who until now have not been particularly interested in Egypt and the extremes it embodies – East and West, secularism and religiosity, haves and have-nots, globalization and colonialism’s continuing legacy – will be interested by the book’s end.” And this from the editor of the Missouri Review, Speer Morgan, in conclusion of his review of The Lay of the Land by Richard Ford: “Aside from the reanimated ‘dead’ husband, this third of the Bascombe trilogy is a compelling portrait of a man approaching old age, still fighting, and in some ways even better company than in the earlier books.”

From Editor Speer Morgan’s foreword to this issue: “Important scientific ideas become metaphoric vehicles for theories that have little connection with objective truth.” This sentence pinpoints, for me, the flexible beauty of English, a language wherein my thirst for good fiction is slaked, and lime is caused to crumble, although he continues, “Through no fault of its own, what starts as true science can become a rich source for nonsense.”
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