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Ninth Letter - Spring/Summer 2006

  • Issue Number: Volume 3 Number 1
  • Published Date: Spring/Summer 2006
  • Publication Cycle: Biannual

No magazine looks better than Ninth Letter. For someone like me, who appreciates but doesn’t understand design, the fact that each segment has its own look and yet the magazine holds a uniform aesthetic is a miracle. This would all be well and good, a coffee tabletop showstopper, but the content proves worthy of the image. In fact, the descriptions in the lead story, Steve Stern’s “Legend of the Lost,” are as memorable as the stark graphics of a lone bungee jumper or a fading Ferris wheel—“the mezuzah nestled like an ingot in the boiling chest hair revealed by his open collar” and “a potato-shaped woman whose Old Country accent remained as thick as sour cream” were two of my favorites, though I could list a dozen without a noticeable dip in quality. The wonder of Robin Hemley’s “The Warehouse of Saints,” accentuated with clever black and white lettering, lies in the daring breadth of the narrative—humor, reliquaries and a veritable history lesson. What other story could plausibly feature this exchange: “‘Look, it’s the toe of St. Ignatius,’ a monk from Fontrevraud shouts to his brother. ‘Put it back,’ the brother says. ‘What are we going to do with the toe of St. Ignatius?’ ‘What can’t be done with the toe of St. Ignatius?’” Nothing makes me happier in reading than pausing for a moment to be amazed at how I could have possibly gotten to point B, and Ninth Letter specializes in these fascinatingly meandering trips.

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Review Posted on September 30, 2006

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