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VerbSap - Fall/Winter 2007

VerbSap, an online magazine, publishes Concise Prose - Enough Said: Fiction and creative non-fiction, and very occasionally a poem. Work found here tends to be on the short side (at most 3000 words long), and all pieces have that surprising, jolting quality that comes from very close observation and the writer's unwillingness to settle for the second best word. There is room for the unusual and disturbing in VerbSap's selections, but you'll search in vain for gimmicks or sloppiness. Each large issue should be consumed in small sips, since these concentrated bits of fiction resonate a long time.

The table of contents provides story excerpts so readers can take their pick easily. Here are my personal favorites: Jack Galmitz's understated "The Parakeet," a superficially simple tale about a boy and his pet which ends on a beautifully sad note; Stephanie Johnson's "Faux-Finish," in which a bitter ex-husband tries to interfere with his former wife's attempts to sell their house; Neil Crabtree's "Somewhere," in which old lovers meet again in a scene bursting with awkwardness and suppressed euphoria and foreshadowed doom (“We were stunned by the reality of ourselves, 20 years later”); Hank Kirton's graceful "Armless," another seemingly simple story revealing its profoundness in the last paragraph (like "Parakeet" and "Somewhere"); and Jennifer Vaughn's "Train Trestle." In this last story, the narrator collects and comments on obituaries, a morbid hobby she pursues with detached precision, until her own grief is subtly revealed. The stories in VerbSap reward anyone who reads a story to the end. Fortunately, they offer plenty of reasons to do just that.
[www.verbsap.com/]

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Review Posted on October 31, 2007
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