The Southern Review – Winter 2004
Volume 40 Number 1
The Southern Review is one in that clutch of legendary literary journals, which in many decades of existence have unfailingly proffered the work of America’s finest writers.
The Southern Review is one in that clutch of legendary literary journals, which in many decades of existence have unfailingly proffered the work of America’s finest writers. In fact, it would seem silly to bother recommending a lit mag that is more like an institution, were it not for the fact that The Southern Review maintains such a lively and altogether anti-stodgy approach. In this winter issue I was most thrilled by Susan Lohafer’s short story “The Man Who Understood Everybody.” Her protagonist Howard, a middle-age real estate agent with razor instincts who’s beginning to slip from top form beneath pressure from his disconsolate wife, is a Willy Loman for our age, minus the incoherent ramblings. The story is so expertly plotted as to be a recommendation in itself for purchase of this issue. But nearly as absorbing is Brock Clarke’s story “The Fundraiser’s Dance Card.” In its depiction of suburban dysfunction gone over to alcoholic surrealism, it seems an uncanny complement to Lohafer’s tale. Then too, the poetry in this issue simply sparkles, beginning with Julianna Baggott’s lyrical rosary concerning the life and loves of Norman Rockwell. Margaret Holley’s poetic meditations on the great 20th century art of Edward Hopper and T.S. Eliot mystify by their blend of maximal sentiment and graceful restraint. [The Southern Review, 43 Allen Hall, LSU, Baton Rouge, LA 70803-5005. E-mail: [email protected]. Single issue $8. http://appl003.lsu.edu/southernreview.nsf/index] – MC