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New England Review - 2005

The New England Review is a larger-than-usual 7”X10” magazine, and with good reason: you’re likely holding in your hands one of the half-dozen best quarterlies out there. I don’t know where to begin with my impressions. I could take the international perspective: an interview with filmmaker Lars von Trier, a study of Orwell’s personal library, a zany around-the-world short story on the intellect by Gregory Blake Smith. Perhaps I could add a historical dimension: a translation of Heloïse, she of the great Medieval tragic romance; an essay from the archives of the always witty G.K. Chesterton; an avant-garde tale by the surrealist René Crevel. I can point to the fiction: the ever-entertaining Steve Almond is in here, as is Ronlyn Domingue with a story, “Broken Silence,” that tugs the strings of suspense with such agility among a childless man, his possibly pregnant wife and his terminally ill nephew, that I couldn’t stop asking “What if?” when I read it. Failing all these, I can accentuate the contemporary issues the New England Review addresses: new artists, new novels, the revolution of online education. Academic or not, you’re guaranteed to find something in NER perfect for kicking back and relaxing with. Grand as it is, it’s the space filled by the reader’s interest that rewards the most. 

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Review Posted on April 30, 2005

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