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Brick - Summer 2008

  • Issue Number: Issue 81
  • Published Date: Summer 2008
  • Publication Cycle: Biannual

Brick is an excellent literary journal printed out of Toronto specializing mostly in nonfiction, though it publishes poems, stories and interviews.

The wonderfully riotous essay “Eat or Die” by Jim Harrison alone is worth the cover price. It chronicles a culinary romp through France where the author explains his love for the French dish Tête de Veau. “This dish of brains, cheeks, neck-meat, and tongue with sauce gribiche seems to bring me closer the playful serenity of the calf,” Harrison swoons.

This essay crackles with Harrison’s unique take on life, from his ailing health to his love of a greasy breakfast. Some of his asides are real gems. Take this one, for instance, on air travel: “Unfortunately flying involves airports, which in the recent decade have come to resemble giant restrooms with a touch of the dog pound added to sweeten the air.”

Lydia Davis’s excellent short story “Grammar Questions” examines the linguistic challenges of speaking about a dying father. In “Something Else is Created,” author Jonathan Safran Foer pays tribute to the late painter R.B. Kitaj.

In a lengthy interview with the novelist and short story writer, Thomas McGuane reminds us that writing isn’t for the faint of heart. By publishing a story in the New Yorker, later reprinted in Best American Short Stories (not bad work if you can get it), he made just enough money to pay an immigrant laborer to tile his bathroom.

He says he writes on a computer because his own handwriting is so terrible. I was surprised to learn that he doesn’t adhere to a strict writing schedule. Rather, he writes in spurts and slowly builds momentum, writing a little more each day.

Also featured are interviews with the writers Lydia Davis and Ali Smith.

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Review Posted on August 13, 2008

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