reviews Archive

The Best Story I Read in a Lit Mag This Week: “Fear Itself” by Katie Coyle

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There’s a lot to love about Katie Coyle‘s story “Fear Itself,” published in the most recent issue of One Story. To start, Coyle is so spot-on in her depiction of teenage girls that about a page in, I took out my phone and snapped a quick picture of a

The Best Story I Read in a Lit Mag This Week: “Prayer for the moth, but also for the spider” by Caitlin Horrocks

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I can’t tell you the last time I prayed. At least, not in the way that the narrator does in Caitlin Horrocks‘ recent story, “Prayer for the moth, but also for the spider,” in issue 21 of Memorious. I spent twelve years in Catholic school, so I can recite a mean

The Best Story I Read in a Lit Mag This Week: “Buried Voice” by Angie Kim

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I don’t often love stories told from the perspective of kids. I think it’s difficult to write a child that feels believable—or interesting, to be honest. For me, stories with a child or teenage narrator too often devolve into the overly cute. The narrator is too precious. The character’s

The Best Story I Read in a Lit Mag This Week: “Come to Bratislava!” by Benjamin Reed

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I knew I was into Benjamin Reed’s story “Come to Bratislava!” in Big Fiction when the main character, a forty-three year old man named Edgar, makes an observation about the phrase “You are my rock.” I’ve never liked this way of articulating someone’s importance and essentiality—hearing it uttered usually

The Best Story I Read in a Lit Mag This Week: “Three Small Town Stories” by Dinah Cox

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I’ve recently become friends with a new handful of people, and out of this group, one woman in particular. Then, over the last weekend, I got to see some old friends from grad school, and in talking about our lives and the new people we’ve met since we graduated,

The Best Story I Read in a Lit Mag This Week: “Creative Writing Instructor Evaluation Form” by April Wilder

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Last week I came into the office where I work, sat down, ate an enormous bagel, and laughed so hard that the guy sitting behind me wheeled his chair over to my desk and said, “What’s so funny?” I pointed at my screen where April Wilder’s story “Creative Writing

The Best Story I Read in a Lit Mag This Week: “We Are Here Because of a Horse” by Karin C. Davidson

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In Issue 34 of Passages North, Karin C. Davidson introduces us to Tulsa, in her story “We Are Here Because of a Horse,” by writing that “Tulsa by night shines like a shattered gold watch.” I’ve arrived in Tulsa much the way her narrator and his wife approach the city

The Best Story I Read in a Lit Mag This Week: “The Operating System” by Carol LaHines

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This week after reading “The Operating System” by Carol LaHines, I tried to think of the last time I made a big mistake—or thought I did—and was forced to wait out the consequences. Our minds do strange work when we need an answer and aren’t allowed to have it.

The Best Story I Read in a Lit Mag This Week: “Dream Scenes” by Renée K. Nicholson

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When I was a kid, I really wanted to be a dancer. Instead, I played softball and soccer—but that fascination with dance never really went away. So last week, when I found “Dream Scene” by Renée K. Nicholson in Issue 5 of Banago Street, my inner-ten-year-old was immediately hooked. “Dream

The Best Story I Read in a Lit Mag This Week: “The Man Who Couldn’t Give It Away” by Scott Bradfield

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When I used to teach intro fiction classes, I noticed that students often turned in stories that featured omniscient third-person narrators, and I can remember doing this when I started writing fiction, too. There’s something very alluring, especially when you first start writing, about being able to access the