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Ellipsis - Spring 2006

  • Issue Number: Volume 42
  • Published Date: Spring 2006
  • Publication Cycle: Annual

Ellipsis, like many student-run literary journals, cleaves tightly to a sense of journalistic “normalcy.” It’s the type of journal in which you’re likely to discover solitary photographs of installation art projects hung out to dry on the spare end of an empty page, stories that sink into the easy chair of the quotidian, and poetry slouching towards the sentimental. Many of the stories here center around the theme of pregnancy or sex; Jennifer Gravely’s “Traumatic Devirginization Stories” and Aaron M. Hellem’s “The Pregnant Girl” are only the most obvious. The constriction in theme is a choice readers will either take or leave; but this is in some ways preferable, as it gives the journal a sense of narrative cohesion often missing from short story magazines. Ellipsis’ most compromising feature is the failure of its stories to immediately seize the reader’s attention on the first go-around; an imaginative premise told in straightforward presentation and reliance on structure is reasonably par for the course, and it’s oftentimes hard to differentiate these stories from a bulk of other material elsewhere. This is a dangerous ballpark to be in, especially in an already-overcrowded fiction market. Thankfully, the prose improves greatly on the second read, particularly Jeff Frawley’s “They Fall from the Sky” – a slow-building piece centered around a single hook. It’s premise – in which objects rain down into the psychological landscape of a suburban couple who are already confronted by the two anxieties of pregnancy and unemployment – felt initially artificial, but, by the end, was rendered quite satisfying. Similarly, Charles Freeland’s “Revolution” seems entirely ungraspable and opaque on the first read; thankfully, weighing in at less than 500 words, it is easily – and justifiably – reread for its extrinsic description of a troubled mind. Ellipsis’ poetry and prose will satisfy the patient reader. []

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Review Posted on April 30, 2007

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