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The Antioch Review - Summer 2006

  • Issue Number: Volume 64 Number 3
  • Published Date: Summer 2006
  • Publication Cycle: Quarterly

If I were to close my eyes and imagine a literary magazine, it would look much like The Antioch Review—no filler, the only artwork a cover to hold the stories together. Of course, the stories inside aren’t as stodgy as one might presume from the appearance. Kris Saknussemm’s “Time of the End” belongs on any shortlist of the best stories of this year. Hephaestus Sitturd invents things that don’t work, but now he must invent a Time Ark so that his family can escape the William Miller-predicted end of the world, based on his evidence, “[…] only the year before a dairy farmer in Gnadenhutten had found a cow pie in the shape of the Virgin Mary. Clearly the world was working up to something decisive.” Saknussemm’s imagination proves bottomless in “Time of the End,” as the long lists of the inventions and interests of Hephaestus’s genius son Lloyd attest, “The child had already constructed a steam-driven monorail that ran from their house to the barn, a crude family telephone exchange, and an accurate clock that needed no winding. A rocking horse that turned into a simple bicycle and a giant slingshot that had propelled a meat-safe over the river.” The rest of the fiction has a hard time reaching the heights Saknussemm attains, but Scott Elliott’s excellent “The Wheelbarrow Man” comes closest. Though the cover states “All Fiction Issue,” there is poetry to be found inside The End of Time, and the poems ascend their own peak. From the last lines of Scott Dalgarno’s “Mea Culpa Mea,” “I know, I know, it’s true— / I should be shot. I’d do it myself, except / who blames the victim anymore?” to Molly Bendall’s “Pass up the Votives” (“Suit up / In your mood, look at the people who / never take trips”). The Antioch Review shows sixty-five years has given them a pretty good idea of how to put something special on paper.

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Review Posted on September 30, 2006

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