Welcome to issue 82. It is with great pleasure that we kick off with a story by Russell Banks, one of America’s greatest writers (Affliction, The Sweet Hereafter, Cloudsplitter, The Darling, Lost Memory of Skin), whose prose never fails to pack a punch. In Blue, a black woman, who has saved up to buy her first car, visits a used car lot to make the purchase, and what ensues illuminates some harsh realities of the world we live in.
Another stalwart of American writing is Daniel Woodrell (Tomato Red, The Death of Sweet Mister, Winter’s Bone), who draws on life in the Ozarks and does things with prose that evoke awe. We are thrilled to present his short piece Two Things, which takes a comic look at a social worker trying to convince a couple that their incarcerated son has changed his ways.
Award-winning writer Kyle Minor made waves this year with his collection Praying Drunk, which bends the boundaries between fiction and non-fiction and addresses America’s obsession with religion. In You Shall Go Out With Joy and Be Led Forth with Peace he looks back to the twelve-year-old Kyle Minor who suffered brutal bullying in his Christian school; while meditating on old Jewish songs, a delicate friendship, and his break from the church.
It is always an editor’s pleasure to present a writer’s first publication. George Zamzow is going places so be on the lookout; we are sure you will enjoy the way he portrays a young man’s confusion as he confronts his questioning wife in Are You Having an Affair?
In picks from back issues we feature two superb stories—Every Third Thought by the renowned English writer Helen Simpson; and from the U.S., Naked Woman Plays Chopin: A Fargo Romance by celebrated writer Louise Erdrich.
Our quiz this issue is Post-Apocalyptic and Dystopian Literature of the 21st Century II. A previous quiz ran in 2008, but with so much good writing in this area, we wanted to present an update. The winner of last issue’s quiz on Russell Banks is Marc Arnas.
Book reviews include Donnybrook by Frank Bill, and Necessary Errors by Caleb Crain, both from the U.S.; from Scotland Laura Marney’s For Faughie’s Sake; and from England Kathryn Simmonds’ Love and Fallout.
Local News: The Barcelona Review would like to thank the Hotel Pulitzer for its kind donation to our review, which goes to the Spanish translation, by Juan Gabriel López, of both the Banks and Woodrell stories. The lovely boutique Hotel Pulitzer is located smack in the center of Barcelona, in Plaça Catalunya. If you have upgraded from youth hostels and backstreet pensións, this is the place to stay in the city. Visit their website. As its name suggests, it loves literature!
As for the World Cup —uh, Happy July and August everyone!
Love and peace from Barcelona,
©2008 The Barcelona Review