The Barcelona Review. International Review of Contemporary Fiction












Issue 73 marks TBR’s 15th anniversary.  Yes, we predate Google!  I’ve often been asked throughout this time what our future goals are, and where we expect to be in five years’ time.  My answer is simple:  to continue putting out the best short fiction we can find, period.  Short fiction that always packs a punch, that often takes risks (see Irvine Welsh’s Fault on the Line), that may transcend ordinary boundaries (see Niall Griffiths’ Coming of Age), and may also be fairly traditional (see Charles D’Ambrosio’s Her Real Name).   The linking thread is fiction that has a distinct voice, is highly original, written in top-rate prose, and in a word, hot.

Towards that end, we’re pleased to kick start our 15th year with Joe Sorrentino’s delectable E-N-V-E-L-O-P-E-S.  There are layers to the story, but let me just say it includes John Malkovich, a dachshund and a dildo.  I challenge anyone to take those three ingredients and top this piece.

Next up is Pablo Riviera, Depressed, Overweight, Age 31, Goes to the Mall by Cameron Pierce. This story, set at a table in a shopping mall food court, is delightfully quirky and curiously touching. You feel as though as you are sitting there yourself, witnessing the scene, one that will leave you with a bemused smile.

Sometimes a piece delivers a kick in a more subtle manner.  Jeremy C. Shipp’s Neighbors and Heather Fowler’s You Remember, Jeanie Bean? gently lure you in and then delicately deliver surprise.  Here we encounter protagonists working through a troubled time in their lives - two distinct voices, perfectly pitched, in creative pieces by writers fully in control of their craft. 

Last up, a special treat:  a TBR exclusive in the way of a novella, Peacock’s Tale, by Scottish author Stuart David (Nalda Said and The Peacock Manifesto).  Here again we find Peacock Johnson, the ne’er-do-well - but oh how we pull for him! - Glaswegian bloke, his nagging wife Bev, and neighbor/mate Jinky.  Peacock doesn’t like to work, but always has a grand plan (“Homeopathic whisky - that was the latest brainwave.”)  There is a fun, postmodern twist to this latest comic venture in that Scottish author Ian Rankin  appears in the novel as a character.  This came about as a few years ago, Rankin used David’s Peacock Johnson character as the main villain in one of his Rebus books.  In Peacock’s Tale, Peacock finds out about his appearance in the book, and goes looking for Rankin, seeking retribution.  Things take a turn when Peacock finds himself in deep trouble, and must enlist Rankin to help him out. There’s all sorts of fun to be had. Print out if you can and read at your leisure.

Picks from back issues focuses on two women:  Alicia Erian's When Animals Attack and Dorothy Speak’s  The View From Here - two highly memorable stories with a good cutting-edge of their own.

Our quiz this issue is Anglo-Asian Literature. If you know whose comic novel includes a group of Muslim militants whose organization goes by the acronym KEVIN, you’re off to good start.  Our winner for last issue's quiz on Novel Prize Winners in Literature is Annie Barlow.  Click here for the answers. A 30-euro gift certificate from Amazon goes to the winner.

In book reviews, we have an in-depth review of a new eZine, The Great Wen. With content suggesting hangings taking place at music concerts and workers being killed in an effort to build a road to Oxford, this visually intriguing Zine must surely come from a London that exists in a
parallel universe.  Michael Garry Smout investigates.

Local News:   Like the rest of the world, Barcelona has been focused on the large, sweeping current events of the time, which have served as the topic of much bar/cafe conversation and classroom discussion.  In our own backyard, this morning was the El Corte Ingles 11K popular race, in which the organizers hoped to top 50,000 runners.  I missed it this time, but usually participate even though it means zigzagging around walkers, baby strollers, dogs, kids, line-skaters, and last year, Barcelona’s famous ‘naked man.’   You won’t get a PB, but it’s fun to take in the scene and run around the Olympic stadium mid-way.  Closer to home, I just heard a mosso’s (Catalan policeman) mobile ring to the theme of Law & Order, and in my gym I saw a guy texting while standing on his head. Love life’s little surprises.

Our next issue is due out around the end of June. To be notified when new issues are available, just ‘LIKE’ The Barcelona Review on Facebook (for the Spanish, LIKE Barcelona Review without the THE); or email us to subscribe (gratis, of course), though often our bulk email is blocked from servers.

Until then, we hope you enjoy our new line-up.

All the best from Barcelona,

Jill Adams

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