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Silent Voices - 2006

  • Issue Number: Volume 2
  • Published Date: Spring 2006
  • Publication Cycle: Annual

Still in its infancy, Silent Voices, published by Ex Machine Press, is making its own foothold among the vast array of literary journals. Its fiction-only focus is a plus for those of us looking for contemporary story collections, and a welcome relief from some of the more popular “Best of…” publications that seem to have bottomed out in terms of presenting a variety of style. (And for short story/creative writing teachers out there using those publications in your classes, SV certainly offers an alternative that might be of more interest to your students.) SV is not all what I would consider highly polished (the end of a couple stories here or left them feeling flat; dialogue in one was stilted and could have stood some revision), and some is not even that great (a couple predictable plot lines; some flat characters; one a great idea not well executed). But, there is also plenty here that stuck with me, and that’s what I consider a good story: one that remains with me and makes me keep thinking about the characters, the time, the place – all the what-ifs and applications in my daily living. Standouts for me included “The Word Thief” by Marie Lecrivain, whose character is able to steal lines of poetry from writers who are then left with empty thoughts and open mouths. Emily Rapp’s “Francesca Woodman Prepares,” Susan Briggs’ “Going Under,” and Tanya Salvini’s “Episodes” followed one another neatly, each a dark ride into character psyche, a common thread throughout much in this journal. Unfortunately, Rebecca Epstein’s “Where We Go” didn’t do as much for me, though it was selected as the 2006 contest winner – it just seemed too close a repeat of Girl Interrupted, though it might be a strong choice for YA readers. “Winter at Eldgar” by Marika Lindholm and “Henry and Zim” by Susan Balee are tremendous for their ability to inhabit the bodies of characters with disabilities (too oft ignored in literature as well) and work through—for better or worse—the internal and external conflicts each faces. An interview with George Saunders tops off the collection, providing insight into his works as well as writerly advice, and a feature I’ve not seen in many publications but that is of great help, “Whispers” at the start of the mag, with excerpts from each story; a useful reference tool. The structure of the publication, how one story seemed to lend itself to something in the next and in the next, tells me the editors of SV have a strong overall vision of the publication, and gives me hope that it will continue to grow into something quite loud. [] –Denise Hill

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Review Posted on August 31, 2006

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