The Barcelona Review. International Review of Contemporary Fiction


The Barcelona Review

At TBR we like our fiction like we like our street festivals - original, well executed, not afraid to take risks, and guaranteed to pack a punch.  Jean Thompson’s Liberty Tax does just that.  Here we follow a young couple who are suddenly reduced to one income and about to lose their home. This new turn in their lives reveals character traits that might otherwise have never come to the surface, and it serves as good comment on our times as well.   

Jim Tomlinson’s The Persistence of Ice is an epistolary story, written by an harassed high school teacher, with the unfortunate name of Titsworth, to his aging, ailing father.  If you’ve ever  taught high school, like me, you can half relate; of course, it’s that other half that makes the story such a skewered delight.

Daniel is Leaving Tonight on a Plane by Paul Russell follows a young high school graduate working a summer job in a record store before leaving home, who is struggling with sexual orientation issues set off by his work mate.  The year is 1973 - is Elton John going gay or not?  I love the author’s piercingly realistic description of events - including sex - which show the boy’s confusion and inner turmoil in the throws of erotic desire.

An Industrial Revolution for Two is Paul Toth’s second story to appear in TBR (see Psychologically Ultimate Seashore, issue 21).  He’s an original, and in this short piece our narrator speaks of his female partner with her many “rules” which are strangely influenced by a cicada invasion.  Yep, that’s our Toth and why we love him.

Lastly, a first-ever fiction publication by Steve Uomini, an American with a long-time residency in Paris. He says the germ of the story came to him while ruminating about the fuss over another American in Paris, Jonathan Littel, who won the 2006 Prix Goncourt (the French equivalent to the Booker) for Les Bienveillantes (The Kindly Ones), a 913-page novel telling the story of W.W.II at the Eastern Front through the fictional memories of an articulate SS officer.   Here, an academic tackles the oeuvre of a fictional Goncourt winner whose protagonist is a Vichy officer.

In picks from back issues, Jason Starr's Bianca’s Wallet  and Julie Orringer's Care two superb stories from our archives.

Continuing with our new addition of Video, we have So Deep in Your Room, filmed by Jacob Mendel, a film student at the University of Michigan, currently studying abroad in Prague at the Czech Film Academy (FAMU). His use of split screen is particularly impressive.

Our quiz this issue is on African-American Literature – that rich vein of American lit which serves as our best historical source of the early African-American experience as well as chronicling genre-busting contemporary themes.  Our winner for last issue’s quiz on Kids in Literature is Neil Latham from EnglandClick here for the answers. A 30-euro gift certificate from Amazon goes to the winner.

In book reviews, we have Jason Starr’s latest release Panic Attack, a crime thriller (see the author’s short story in picks from back issues above); and two superb new short-story collections - Do Not Deny Me by Jean Thompson, and Nothing Like an Ocean by Jim Tomlinson.  For a flavor of each, check out the stories by the authors in this issue.

Local News:   Please note that there is a new print literary review in Barcelona, Barcelona INK, now in its second issue with the third soon on the way.  Editor Ryan Chandler states:  “Not only does the magazine aim to have articles about and by well known writers connected to the city in some way - in this category we could mention Toibin, Orwell, Rupert Thompson and many more - but to act as a platform for new writers exiled in a city which has provided them with a new set of cultural references. We also occasionally highlight the work of Catalan writers and poets who we like.”    It’s available in most bookstores here that carry English-language books, and in selected kiosks.  If you’re not from here, you can order online from their website.  It publishes top-notch writers and is getting great reviews from the local press.  Be sure to check it out:

Our next issue is due out around Dec. 10th. To be notified when new issues are available, you can become a fan of The Barcelona Review at Facebook (sorry, don’t like the tag, but that’s all they offer); so, if you enjoy the review, “fan” us and you’ll find announcements about new issues on your FB page, which I hope helps solve the problem of emailing updates that are often blocked as “bulk”.  I also have a personal FB page under my name, where we can just be “friends.”  If you don’t use FB, just email us to receive updates and we hope it reaches you.  Any comments on the review, or lit related news, let me know.

Until December, we hope you enjoy our fall offerings.

All the best from Barcelona,

Jill Adams


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