This is simply the best online literary magazine in the country today. New stories are provided every week from a stellar list of writers, and a wide variety of material is presented on a rotating basis – fiction, nonfiction, poetry, interviews, cartoons, book reviews, and other features. And now they have taken the evolutionary step of becoming the first lit mag on Amazon’s Kindle. As I have stated before, if you wish to see the future of online publishing, read this magazine.
Of the recent offerings, I was quite impressed with “The Women” by Tom Barbash, about a young man who must deal with the death of his mother, and his fifty-eight-year-old father who is now “desirable real estate” to the many women of New York City. More earthy but just as entertaining is “Farm-in-a-Day” by Heather Brittain Bergstrom, about a confused young man who inherits a large amount of money from his absentee mother and must decide what to do with it. A potato farm would be a possibility.
In the section called “Readers’ Narratives,” there is a haunting piece of nonfiction entitled “The Mines of Potosi, Bolivia,” by Robert Baird. The author flew to Bolivia with his girlfriend to view the grim conditions under which Bolivian peasants work in an old silver mine. The estimated life span there is two to ten years, but they do it because of the press of poverty.
In the section entitled “First and Second Looks,” there is a very interesting review by Caitlin McKenna of Charles Sprawson’s 1992 nonfiction book entitled Haunts of the Black Masseur, which is a “cultural history of swimming.” The author presents exhaustive data on many famous people such as Jack London, Goethe, and Byron “each swimming in pursuit of some distant ideal, variously heroic, commercial, spiritual, or sensual.” The two illustrative paragraphs from the book definitely made me want to read it.
I close my review of this excellent website by quoting from a review by Jennifer Cheng of the book Narrow Road to the Interior, translated by Sam Hamill, of the medieval Japanese poet Matsuo Basho who is preparing to make a three-thousand mile journey from which he may never return:
and the birds cry out –
tears in the eyes of fishes
With these first words from my brush, I started. Those who
remain behind watch the shadow of a traveler’s back disappear.