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Summer Reading

Issue #32, 2007

It seems fitting that during the season when one's fancy turns naturally to escaping work and school, the undercurrent of this issue is escaping from reality—how our desire for flight (real or imaginary) and the need to lend meaning to our lives can transport us to the most unlikely places. In Rick Bass's haunting story "The Elephant," the imagination of a mother living on the edge of a desolate salt flat seems capable of spinning fantasy into fact. The violent end of a woman's slightly sinister neighbors spurs her obsession with ferreting out the truth in Ann Beattie's "Moni Wayside Blue." Whether you like floating off into space, or prefer to be solidly grounded to your beach chair, we hope you enjoy the issue.

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Antonya Nelson

NOTHING RIGHT • Where had Leo learned what to do? How did he know to grip Niffer's buttocks while chewing hungrily at her mouth?

Rick Bass

THE ELEPHANT • An enormous hump-shaped animal writhed and lunged out in the lake, powering its way through the moon-bright floating bog of salt.

Elizabeth Stout

A DIFFERENT ROAD • There was a quick, rushing sound - the curtain flung back with the tinny whoosh of its rings against the rod. There was a person in a blue ski mask waving an arm at Olive, shouting, 'Get down.'

Ann Beattie

MONI WAYSIDE BLUE • I came to believe her when she said that once people knew the facts, they'd realize the children's cuts and bruises had not been inflicted by her.

Daniel Menasche

Fiction
WE JUST CAME UP FROM SAN FRANCISCO • They say Aaron must have known - why else would he have been wearing a gas mask? But I think there are plenty of reasons to wear a gas mask.

Anthony Alessandrini

Poetry
FOUR WAYS OF REMOVING A WALL (A FIELD MANUAL)

Bruce Smith

DEVOTION: X
DEVOTION: MEDIA
DEVOTION: REDSHIFT

Cynthia Lowen

OPPENHEIMER ON THE COUCH
OPPENHEIMER FINDS A LOVER, OR AFTERNOON AT THE SHORE

Brett Fletcher Lauer

A TENDENCY TOWARD MYSTICISM
AFTER READING THIS POEM

Noelle Kocot

TWELFTH WEDDING ANNIVERSARY
ONE POEM FOR MATTHEW Z.

Jennifer Levasseur and Kevin Rabalais

AN INTERVIEW WITH JOHN BANVILLE • The Booker Prize-winning writer chats about Dostoyevsky's failures, the inability to read his own work, and the reason his book reviews make him seem like a much nicer person than he is.

Abbie Fields

A CONVERSATION WITH CLARIBEL ALEGRÍA • After over forty books and more than one revolution, the writer considers exile, revolution's effects on literature, the political use of poetry, and the ways to preserve a poem's aroma in translation.

Anderson Tepper

AN INTERVIEW WITH NURUDDIN FARAH • Exiled for his satirical book A Naked Needle, the prolific Somalian novelist and winner of the Neustadt International Prize for Literature decided to write a work worthy of his own fate.

Steve Almond and Binyavanga Wainaina

TWO VIEWS OF RYSZARD KAPUŚCIŃSKI • A few months after the death of the legendary Polish war correspondent, two writers question his legacy.

Helen Schulman

MY FATHER< THE GARBAGE HEAD • When the death of a parent becomes the less horrifying option.

Arika Okrent

AMONG THE KLINGONS • The subset of a subset: a linguist explores the devoted underworld of Klingon-speaking trekkies.

Michael Kobre

On Harvey Kurtzman's war comics.

Irina Reyn

On Anastasya Verbitskaya's Keys to Happiness.

Leigh Newman

CONFESSIONS OF A SECRET GAME EATER • From moose-hunting Alaska to preppy Baltimore: the lingering effects of a divided culinary history.