The editors of Glimmer Train Stories have successfully put together another issue of pieces that focus strongly on character interiority. Through the course of the issue, the reader is acquainted with several different people, including an American teacher watching over his students in Germany, ill-fated lovers dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and people on the run from Nazis.
“Rubber Boy,” by David Allan Cates, details the story of a Vietnam veteran who prides himself on his ability to bounce back from life’s challenges. The first-person narrator admits that remaining sane is a struggle, but understands what can bring true happiness: pulling your daughter from the ocean and reviving her, only to watch her turn cartwheels a few minutes later.
Scott Nadelson’s “Aftermath” clocks in at nearly fifty pages, but the narrative skips along at an intoxicating pace. Through the course of those pages, the reader is immersed in the lives of Richard and Alana, a couple in the midst of a trial separation. After dealing with moving, the stresses of dating and the power of loneliness, Richard still weighs the benefits of having “a reconciliation, a long night of negotiation and tears, when he and Alana would discuss the things they could live without, the things they couldn’t, when they would ask over and over that one unanswerable question – ‘Where did we go wrong?’”
There are many stories dealing with the complications of being raised in a strong religious tradition, but Joshua Canipe’s “Preacher Stories” makes excellent use of his material. The story manages to give snakes a new metaphor.
Along with the fiction, this issue of Glimmer Train features an interview with Will Allison, author of What You Have Left. In addition to confirming the value of a mentor to a young writer, Allison believes that writing is “a big leap of faith, believing that it will all amount to something.”