Winter Reading

Issue #34, 2007

We proclaim that everything in this issue is worthy of an award. Charles Baxter's subtle and masterfully crafted excerpt from his forthcoming novel The Soul Thief, Luis Jaramillo's powerful short-short "The Pacific War," Shawn Vestal's not exactly heavenly vision of heaven "The First Several Hundred Years Following My Death," Bruce Smith's poetic self-portrait "Rediscovering Bruce Smith," Beijing native Yiyun Li's essay on her connection to the Irish writer William Trevor, and Frances McCue's pilgrimage to the rough Montana back roads of poet Richard Hugo all deserve trophies and ticker tape parades. In our hearts, they've already won.

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Shannon Cain

CULTIVATION • She grows weed and she grows children, but the weed doesn't talk back. The children make noise and messes. The weed is reliable.

Joshua Ferris

UNCERTAINTY • He was waiting for me when I walked in, standing in the middle of the living room, holding a tote bag in one hand and a crowbar in the other.

Luis Jaramillo

THE PACIFIC WAR • 'If I pass out, I need you to help me,' the doctor says to his son.

Shawn Vestal

THE FIRST SEVERAL HUNDRED YEARS FOLLOWING MY DEATH • In the cafeteria, people sit with others of their age and era—tables full of bald old men from my century, children from flu epidemics in the 1800s, young soldiers from every time.

Dan DeWeese

ACACIA AVENUE • It was as if the lion's share of my lifetime—marriage, parenthood, and career—had become nothing but a vivid dream that had dissolved to traces and shadows.

Caitlin Horrocks

GOING TO ESTONIA • Through the damp, streaked spaces he hollowed, Ursula could see nothing but pine forest, dark and relentless. She was already as far from home as she'd ever been.

Charles Baxter

MCQUEER, an excerpt from the novel The Soul ThiefIn his most recent phase, he decided that he was gay (he is now almost twelve) and that we were all to call him

Bruce Smith

REDISCOVERING BRUCE SMITH

Peter Kline

MINOTAUR

William Wenthe

FROM THE TRAVEL JOURNALS OF BASHO: AUGUST 1684

Matthew Lippman

NO MORE BEES
NAKED FLOWER

Stephanie Anderson

THE MULE SPINDLES

Lori Shine

COVE

Kathleen Winter

THE GENDER OF A COW

Yiyun Li

IT TAKES A VILLAGE TO TELL A STORY • Although Yiyun Li is from China and William Trevor is from Ireland, they share an unexpected common literary space.

Deborah Eisenberg

Anna Keesey talks with Deborah Eisenberg about whether one can be ethical and an American, the great fun of playwriting, the vision quest of fiction writing, and the outrageous richness of diction in her 'inhospitable' stories.

Frances McCue

IN PURSUIT OF WISDOM • Traveling through the desolate Western towns of Richard Hugo's poetry.

Suzanne Dennice Guillette

ON UNICA ZÜRN'S The House of Illnesses.

Kim Adrian

RED CURRANTS AND

Sara Roahen

SAZERACS • On lost innocence and whiskey: post-Katria New Orleans is still a boozy town, but not quite in the same festive way as before.