The Barcelona Review. International Review of Contemporary Fiction

As we upload Issue 97, a good part of the world continues to live with some kind of regulation against Covid.  Masks are the norm. Staying at home much of the time is the norm. And, in one of the upsides, people are reading more.  I recently finished Te-Nehisi’s The Water Dancer and Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad, two different takes on the same theme, both mingling history and fantasy.  I recommend them both. 

TBR’s offerings this issue begin with Jim Grimsley’s Two Jumps, In and Out.  Our narrator finds himself at a dinner party where a story is told, which he can’t help but embellish in his mind, thus creating a story within the story.  It’s sharp and clever, not least for the delightful character sketches of the dinner guests.

Next up is In Isolation In Isolation by Fred Leebron. In this bleak portrayal of events, our narrator matter-of-factly enumerates life under the new normal before veering to a dark and ominous conclusion.  There is a powerful sense of urgency in this short piece, coming in at under three pages, evocative of our times.

The same can be said of The House by robert(a) marshall, which takes us to a playroom at a children’s detention center on the border.  In only two pages, we grasp the underlying unease and moral uncertainty that looms within.

And from Kathy Anderson is Look at the Birdie. Here, a single female neighbor becomes obsessed with the wife of a happily married couple next door, who she feels sure is being “suffocated” by her husband.  It’s quirky and fun.

In our picks from back issues we have The Surrogate by Ottessa Moshfegh (issue 92), a delightfully eccentric story concerning a pretty lady with swollen genitalia, and Whose Song? by Thomas Glave (issue 23), an intense, experimental piece involving the rape of a teenage lesbian.

Our quiz this issue is the Literature of U.S. Slavery. Test your knowledge and you’re in the running to win a 30-euro gift certificate from Amazon. For answers to last issue’s quiz, Literature of Pandemics, click here. We had several correct answers; the name drawn was Laura Hird.

Our book review this issue is on Don Winslow’s Broken, a collection of six novellas, which includes various colorful characters from his novels. Highly recommended.

Our next issue is due out late fall. 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, link to email form below, to subscribe (gratis, of course),

Jill Adams

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