Slice Magazine is definitely slick. To begin with, it has a nice shape, slightly more square than rectangular, bigger than the typical paperback book – its very size lending itself more to the coffee table display than the random misplacement on an overstuffed bookshelf. Page by page, the design by Amy Sly and Amanda Ice is hip and pleasing to the eye; this issue is embellished throughout with a color I want to name “pumpkin,” the only additional color enhancing the requisite black and white. Titles are rewarded with their very own pages, the type large, unique, inviting, accompanied by a thematically appropriate illustration or photograph. Even the white spaces between sections of prose are uniquely addressed; while one story is divided by three pumpkin colored X’s, the next is divided by a series of pumpkin colored asterisks, the next by a pair of slightly staggered lines. The cover illustration by Jessica Gomez is immediately followed by an equally appealing cover photograph by Patrick Schlichtenmyer, as if the burden of narrowing in on a single cover layout was simply too much to bear. Teetering somewhere between an art/lit magazine or a lit/art magazine, the overall design and presentation of Slice is definitely exemplary.
But what about the contents? The theme of the Spring/Summer issue is “Going Home,” and the first entry addressing this theme is “Losing It,” by Alex Littlefield, a creative non-fiction winner which details the consequences of being overrun with a sudden infestation of bedbugs. Funny, quirky, and threaded throughout with spectacular sentences, “Losing It” is a wonderful read. Likewise I was smitten with the heartbreaking honesty in Anthony Carelli’s poem “Sermon,” and Tom Haushalter’s poem “The Savior’s Face in a Tie-Dye Shirt.” In fiction, I was totally astonished by Andrew Roe’s “My Status,” a beautifully rendered divorce story that managed to evoke a crushing sense of sympathy for all sides of the triangle, and Alexi Zentner’s “Take Me First, Take Me Second, Kill Me Now, Kill Me Forever,” a strange and disturbing fictional account of a school shooting. In addition to these absolute highlights, the bulk of this issue was admirable, engaging, and well written. I particularly enjoyed the series of writer interviews with Paul Auster, Haven Kimmel, Lisa See, Ed White, and Aleksandor Hemon. Likewise, if you’re a Dave Mathhews Band groupie, Nikki Van Noy’s tribute to her traveling family was interesting and well written.