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Epoch - 2005 Series

  • Issue Number: Volume 54 Number 3
  • Published Date: 2005 Series
  • Publication Cycle: Annual

Self-described as having a “shrewd eye for talent,” the editors at Epoch, Cornell University’s literary journal, have again published an exceptional issue. Largely filled with short stories, this issue includes characters that are ordinary and empathetic, complex and endearing—believable, if difficult to understand. There’s something immensely satisfying when I finish a story and feel as though the world created in just a few short pages is utterly real, an element of life I may not have experienced but find authentic in voice and tone. Each story here is crafted with the utmost care, and the endings are resolved without force or artifice. If I had to choose a standout story, I’d pick “The Surprising Weight of the Body’s Organs” by Douglas Trevor, whose understanding of suffering and the extraordinary lengths we will go to mitigate our pain is acute and startling. The protagonist, a wife and mother who has lost her only child to disease, now procures donor organs but hides from her flatulent husband in airport bars as she travels from surgery to surgery. When confronted with the weight of her husband’s desire to reconcile, she recognizes the futility: “There were these tremors of rage inside of here that consumed her. It was out of her control. There were organs she needed to move around the country and rage she felt at the awful puniness of her ever-precious cargo. That was it. There was no room inside her for anything else.” While fiction is the highlight of this issue, the three poems included here are meritorious equals to the quality writing throughout. Reading page after page of satisfying prose, I felt envious of the writers and this venue. If I were to write a short story, I’d feel fortunate to see it printed in these pages. —Jen Henderson

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Review Posted on December 31, 2005
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