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Notre Dame Review - Summer 2004

Bristling with the work of thirty-four different poets, this issue of Notre Dame Review is mostly blank verse, all of it enjoyable, and much of it breathtaking. I was most amazed by Beth Ann Fennelly’s long, sober, meditative piece, “The Presentation,” a title deriving from the hospital procedure of showing a stillborn infant to its mother. “Within hours, within you, / the cell, smaller than a decimal point, / began its long division. / But you know how unforgiving / math can be. Just one small mistake / and it won’t add up.” Six mostly lengthy stories are scattered amongst the poems, several decidedly surreal or labyrinthine in narrative structure. In Michael Northrop’s comparatively brief fiction, “My Body,” a jogging man spots a corpse floating in the Hudson River, and quickly discovers that the body is an uncanny mirror-image of himself. The story has a bemused, cerebral quality that brings to mind the work of Javier Marias, and is in some ways representative of the fictional leanings in this issue of Notre Dame Review. Yet the fiction here is by no means totally uniform. For instance, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s story “Recaptured Spirits” deals, through a lyrical realism, with the latent homosexuality of a Nigerian university teacher who finds herself falling for a pupil. [Notre Dame Review, 840 Flanner Hall, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN, 46556. E-mail: . Single issue $8.] – MC

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Review Posted on October 31, 2004

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