Lovers of the short story will cherish Night Train. Save a fascinating biographical essay on the late Richard Yates, this issue is entirely fiction. Kerry Jones’ “Rescue Effort” is a stunning opener. Using the second-person perspective, she eerily evokes her character’s haunted emotional state: “You watched him go, still loving him as his back drifted farther and farther away . . . and while something inside of you said you’d never be fine again, somehow that was all right.” And the stories only intensify after this masterful start, creating a veritable showcase of work rich in grace and humanity—and poetics too.
The Night Train editors don’t shy away from fiction with an experimental edge, yet explorative tendencies are balanced throughout by a fidelity to narrative, character, and language that is emotionally and representationally exact. Only two pieces falter here—one teetering toward self-indulgence, the other bogged down by implausibility. But Night Train seems to have ten hearts where many lit mags have one. As a final touch, contributors’ notes at the back of the journal come complete with authors’ accounts of each story’s genesis, offering an intriguing coda for every piece. Night Train serves up an evocative journey for anybody seeking powerful image and irresistible narratives. [Night Train, 85 Orchard Street, Somerville, MA 02144. E-mail: . Single issue $9.95. www.nighttrainmagazine.com] - MC