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Washington Square - 2010

  • Published Date: Summer/Fall 2010
  • Publication Cycle: Biannual

The cover art of this issue is from Dan Hillier’s collection of altered engravings, four which appear inside the magazine. Hillier’s pictures are odd, collaging the real with the imagined. Many of his engraving show humans with animal features. For example, the engraving on the cover depicts a woman in Victorian dress whose skirts branch out into octopus tentacles. This weirdness seems intentional and thematic for the issue as a whole.

“How I Fell in Love; Then How I Killed my Baby” by Nic Brown with its startling title first caught my eye. The title (spoiler alert) gives the story away, and the set-up is common: boy meets love, things are good, then things disintegrate. The first scene opens down by a lake with a group of college students swimming and ends with the main character, nicknamed Slow, “sitting beside a strange, beautiful woman and an ex-con with tattooed fingers who claimed to be a mind reader.” Slow ends up marrying the woman he met that day and they live quietly together. Then the story takes another abrupt turn, this time not so much towards the weird, but towards the tragic when Slow’s car crashes with him and his pregnant wife inside.

A section of the review is subtitled “From the Borderlands.” According to the small introductory note by the editor, the selections in “Borderlands” reflect on the ideas of exile and border-crossing. Many of the authors featured are writing from outside their native country either because they themselves have been exiled or it is unsafe for them to voice their opinions in publications in their home countries. Amusingly, what separates “Borderlands” from the rest of the issue are the other engravings by Dan Hillier. In the same way, many of the authors in this section deal with boundaries, identity, and what is “real.”

Overall, I was intrigued and interested by everything Washington Square had to offer. The pieces were charmingly offbeat with a fresh voice, setting, theme, or message. Everything I read in this issue raised a new question in my mind, or at least made me raise an eyebrow. Boundaries weren’t only discussed in this issue; they were pushed.

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Review Posted on January 29, 2011

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