Featured authors in this collection include Anton Chekov, Joyce Carol Oates, Robert Creeley and Rick Moody. The works are diverse and powerful.
Among the most memorable pieces are: Robert Coover’s “Stepmother,” a brutal and bizarre twist on fairy tale conventions; Joyce Carol Oates’ “Dr. Magic, a Play in One Act,” a play that borders on the clichés of hypnosis, yet sticks in the memory; Susan Bernofsky’s interview with Angela Carter, “We’re Not Dealing with Naturalism Here: An Interview,” Anton Chekov’s “Two Stories”; Joy Williams’ “Hammer”; and Rick Moody’s wickedly funny, scary, sing-song “Schoolgirls.” Elaine Equi’s poems deserve a special mention; they are the sparkling gems of the book.
The writing is consistently strong. My only disappointment after reading the volume straight through instead of dipping in and out, is that piece after piece after piece focus on hopelessness and despair. It falls into the trap of “it has to be despondent in order to be literature.” No one moved forward or broke patterns of destruction and despair except Equi’s poems. Because I believe that we have the power to write and change our reality, I longed to see these creative, powerful, talented, magical writers create some mojo that had visions of viable solutions for the future. I’d like to see some evolution. [Conjunctions, Bard College, 21 East 10th St, New York, NY 10003. E-mail: . Single issue $15.00. www.conjunctions.com] - DE