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The Paris Review - Winter 2006

  • Subtitle: The Paris Review
  • Issue Number: Volume 48 Number 179
  • Published Date: Winter 2006
  • Publication Cycle: Quarterly

There’s a division in literary magazines that’s becoming more pronounced as time goes on – there are those that treasure new voices and are a beacon of hope to the unpublished, and then there are those that serve as a seemingly untouchable golden palace upon a hill to be envied from afar. Both are viable, and as journals proliferate, this division was inevitable and necessary. The Paris Review is one of the most blindingly golden palaces in all the land, with a statue of George Plimpton standing watch, perhaps in the uniform of his Paper Lion days. This golden issue features fiction from T.C. Boyle and Gish Jen and poetry from omnipresent Dean Young (though what recent poet has deserved more of a presence?). “Glow Ode” sparkles with Young’s malleable gifts, especially his effortless sense of humor, which adds to the impact of such notions as: “but some things can only be true / if you’re not prepared. I love those fools / who think they can sit out the hurricane, / how later they wave from their roofs with their parakeets at the helicopters.” Jonas Bendiksen’s gorgeous and heartrending photos of Kiberia, a slum in Nairobi, Kenya, serve as a sobering centerpiece. Bendikson’s camera seems capable of richer, truer color than real life. But the crown jewel of this issue is two chapters of an unfinished novel found in the papers of the late Joseph Heller. “Hagar” and “Ishamel” only hint at what could have been – the deadpan wit still ferociously intact, here sinking its teeth into the Bible. Ishmael notes offhandedly about his father Abraham, “For what good it might do me, he wanted me to know that I was blessed too, and he had it on good word that I would have twelve sons and become a great nation, somewhere else.” Perhaps George Plimpton and Joseph Heller have formed their own great nation somewhere else, but in this one, The Paris Review continues to shine for all to see.

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Review Posted on June 07, 2016

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