reviews Archive

The Best Story I Read in a Lit Mag This Week: “Spider Legs” by Danielle Lazarin

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Sometimes a story seems to find you at the right moment. Last week I was talking to a friend about our preferences in fiction. After writing this column for most of a year, I’m beginning to get a pretty solid grasp on what kind of stories I tend to

The Best Story I Read in a Lit Mag This Week: “Devotion” by Dolly Laninga

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I’ve been thinking a lot about history lately, and how the stories we tell ourselves about our lives shape who we are almost as much as actual events. What defines us? Where do we fit into a group? More importantly, how do we decide which stories to tell? Published

The Best Story I Read in a Lit Mag This Week: “Helpful Products for Family Men: A User’s Guide” by Ryan Trattles

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You guys, I gotta tell you: I’m a sucker for any story that plays with form. Send me your recipes-as-failed-date stories, your museum-tours-as-conspiracy plots, your PowerPoint-homework-as-family narratives. I’m all in. So when I found Ryan Trattles’s story “Helpful Products for Family Men: A User’s Guide” published in Indiana Review,

The Best Story I Read in a Lit Mag This Week: “Entity” by Mira Mattar

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If I think back to the best people I’ve known—those who were my favorites, who were most alluring, engaging, and alive, the personalities that took up space in the world—there’s not necessarily a common thread between all of them. That’s not all that surprising. Humans take different shapes. What

The Best Story I Read in a Lit Mag This Week: “Abingdon Square” by André Aciman

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I’ve written before about the feeling you get when a story follows you. When you’ve put the book or journal down or you’ve turned off your computer and gotten up and gone back to the rest of your life. But then you catch yourself, in idle moments, thinking of

The Best Story I Read in a Lit Mag This Week: “The Disappearance of Herman Grimes” by Michael Shou-Yung Shum

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It’s not often that I cry a little while reading a short story. I’ve been known to cry at badly written episodes of Grey’s Anatomy, at the emotional conclusion of certain novels, and in the presence of pretty much any crying person. (My tear ducts are sympathetic—what can I

The Best Story I Read in a Lit Mag This Week: “The Other Kind of Magic” by Juliet Escoria

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Have I written about longing here yet? (I’m sure I have.) Every story is supposed to be stuffed to the gills with an aching desire, something pulling a character through the narrative whether they want it to or not. In a good story, longing is a taut tether that

The Best Story I Read in a Lit Mag This Week: “Letters Between Tortoise and Hare” by Brandi Wells

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I’ve been in a bit of a slump lately, chaffing against my nine to five office job, weary of the routine and cadence of every week and weekend. It’s spring in New York, which doesn’t help, since all anyone wants to do is go sit in the sun somewhere

The Best Story I Read in a Lit Mag This Week: “Our Country” by Jill Schepmann

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You know you’re reading something lovely when you come across a line in a story that makes you stop reading, get out a pen, and draw a dark line across the page. (And you know it’s exceptional if you even have to get up out of your seat to

The Best Story I Read in a Lit Mag This Week: “Mort Naturelle” by Ricardo Nuila

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For most of us, our bodies can be mysteries, but in Ricardo Nuila’s story “Mort Naturelle,” we find them painfully explained. Here’s what happens to a spleen when a parachute doesn’t deploy; here’s how a jaw disappears when it’s been blasted with birdshot; here’s the sinewy tendons from a