The Cincinnati Review has, in its five years of existence, built a reputation as an outstanding, and beautifully produced, literary magazine. Each issue includes a full-color portfolio of a contemporary artist’s work, as well as three writers’ reviews of a single book, allowing for dialogue between and among the arts.
The fiction in this issue is varied and lively. Michael Knight’s “Love at the End of the Year” performs a difficult feat for a short story – the duties of narration are passed from character to character, circling back at the end to Katie, with whom the story began. Peter Levine’s “The Seldom Brother,” about a man who spends his adult life fleeing the conventions and comforts of his suburban boyhood, followed by the relentless calls of a high school friend with whom he hasn’t spoken in years, skillfully navigates subtle emotional territory without lapsing into melodrama or allowing the story’s tension to slacken. And Edith Pearlman’s “Hat Tricks,” in which four girls pull boys’ names from a hat and set out to marry the boys whose names they drew, seems ready-made for the big screen.
Nonfiction is equally strong. Peter Selgin’s essay “Keeping Up with the Days,” about his obsessive practice of keeping a journal, is funny and personal, but also feels bigger than its ostensible subject matter. Selgin is talking not just about himself but about the complex, often troubled nature of everyone's relationship to memory and to the past when he says, “And so I wrestled with [the words], pinning them to page after page, not realizing that the words had me pinned, that my notebooks were writing me, displacing my life, consuming and ruining it.”
Over forty poets’ work is represented here. From prose poetry to a Dickinsonian poem by Rowena Hill, called “Emily D. on the Beach,” their offerings take many forms, adding to the journal’s variety.
With work of this quality, The Cincinnati Review is sure to garner the attention and accolades it deserves. Grab an issue now so you can say you knew it when.