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TriQuarterly – 2007

The fiction in TriQuarterly ranks among the best today, but whereas many journals contain excellent fiction of one variety, TriQuarterly’s strength lies in its diversity. Jonathan David’s hilarious “The Sub” tells the story of a horrendous substitute teacher through (mostly) anonymous letters from the students themselves. “The Sub” is (intentionally?) reminiscent of Donald Barthelme’s classic “The School.” The latter’s strength lies in how the stakes are raised, the former’s is in the variety of voices, the smart and the not-so, the misbehaving and the apple polishing, the liars and the too-honest.

The fiction in TriQuarterly ranks among the best today, but whereas many journals contain excellent fiction of one variety, TriQuarterly’s strength lies in its diversity. Jonathan David’s hilarious “The Sub” tells the story of a horrendous substitute teacher through (mostly) anonymous letters from the students themselves. “The Sub” is (intentionally?) reminiscent of Donald Barthelme’s classic “The School.” The latter’s strength lies in how the stakes are raised, the former’s is in the variety of voices, the smart and the not-so, the misbehaving and the apple polishing, the liars and the too-honest. The truth behind a husband’s behavior when driving the babysitter home is the central question of “A Split Level Life” by Sande Boritz Berger. Berger does not attempt melodrama. Instead, the question threatening the suburban comfort of brand-names and household tips is not a torrid affair but simple trust. Sex, however, seems to be the sole preoccupation of Anderson, the protagonist in Heather A. Slomski’s “The Allure of All This,” between the mannequins in the department store where he works to Mia in lingerie to his wife Ermalinda. As Ermalinda shaves her legs, Slomski writes, “She did this on every line of her leg and when she switched legs the suds parted and Anderson could see her nude body like a calendar page floating in the bathtub.” All of these stories approach their subjects with vastly different styles, but each contains the humor, anxiety, and pain of human emotion. The poetry is more academic in tone, and lacks the accessibility of the fiction, but rewards – and merits – rereading.
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