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The Fiddlehead - Summer 2005

  • Issue Number: Number 224
  • Published Date: Summer 2005
  • Publication Cycle: Quarterly

The Fiddlehead may very well be the single best in-door for those with a mind to explore the finest of Canadian creative writing. This “Summer Fiction” issue is a wellspring particularly for anybody seeking the multifarious pleasures that original and adventurous short stories can provide. Published out of Fredericton, New Brunswick, The Fiddlehead, as the brief editor’s note asserts, celebrates its 60th anniversary this year, “which makes The Paris Review at fifty seem a veritable pup.” This rollicking all-fiction edition gives good reason for the journal’s impressive longevity, and inspires hopes for its continuance. It all starts with the pistol-shot of Bill Gaston’s “Freedom,” a picaresque about a big-dreaming cultural innocent called Wa. Wa, who has recently arrived from Paris at the side of his crime-addicted mother, speaks barely two licks of English but wanders the streets of Des Moines, Iowa, wildly eager to distinguish himself with the cultural wares of the U.S.A, which to him means guns, bean bags, hot tubs, burgers, and of course TVs. “The thing with America is, when you eat a lot of burgers, you begin to need a lot of burgers.” “Seeing Red,” by Joanne Merriam, is an equally engrossing story that in four short pages manages to present and bring into collision the lives of four distinctive characters. I find the artful prose of these lines by Merriam to be a good representation of the top-notch writing so pervasive in The Fiddlehead: “[…]his body suddenly lighter than it should be, his head heavier, as though he’d stared up at the sky for too long, and could no longer tell where his body began, or whether his feet were touching the ground, or whether there was any longer any ground to touch, as if the sky just went on and on with nothing under it, so that he will always be falling as he is now, and almost he expects to see stars blossom in her pupils, and then he blinks and comes back to himself feeling stupid and small.” [The Fiddlehead, Campus House, 11 Garland Court, UNB, PO Box 4400, Fredericton NB, Canada E3B 5A3. E-mail: . Single issue $16. www.lib.unb.ca/Texts/Fiddlehead] —Mark Cunningham

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Review Posted on November 30, 2005
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