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South Dakota Review - Winter 2003

  • Issue Number: Volume 41 Number 4
  • Published Date: Winter 2003
This slim but vivacious lit mag out of the University of South Dakota is bristling with content: eight short stories, twenty-eight poems, and two essays. The offerings afford readers a wide gamut of compelling, character-driven fiction, lyrical poetry, and reflective nonfiction. Among the stories, I found myself most absorbed by Elizabeth Sachs’s “Face,” a cool, laconic portrayal of a young restorative artist (more commonly known as mortician) who masters the interpretation of facial expressions, allowing him to decipher the true intentions of people around him, as well as evoke a healthy catharsis in his grieving clientele. Also lovely is the story “Nightgown” by Tasha Haas, a dreamlike tale of a woman’s nocturnal wandering from the rural home where her young son sleeps. The woman is pulled along by some ghostly will astir within the nightgown she wears, a garment she found among her dead mother’s effects. Haas’s hypnotic prose drives the reader the way the nightgown impels the woman. “She lets her fingers trail, catching and releasing the repeating stalks, catching and releasing, repeating and repeating this simple catching and releasing and walking, walking to nothing and from everything until she has walked so far she has walked through nothing and come to somewhere else.” Also fine is a trio of resonant, religious landscape poems by Peter Ludwin. – MC
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Review Posted on April 12, 2016

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