Recently finished the Winter 2013 issue of Glimmer Train, one of the most competitive literary magazines on the U.S. scene, with 32,000 submissions a year. Its almost 200 pages included nine short stories and an interview with author Pinckney Benedict (after reading this interview and reveling in his awe-inspiring name, I bought his most recent book, Miracle Boy and Other Stories; apparently, he’s inspired other readers, too). $19.95 from Benedict’s hard-working small publisher, Press 53; $17.96 from amazon. Hoping my extra $1.99 is nurturing the dream of small publishers.
Among the stories, I especially liked “Angstschweiss” by Susan Messer, and anyone who’s had to make a trepidatious visit to a nursing home, rehab hospital, or other institution caring for the wreck of a loved one remembered in full-sail, will identify. The title of her novel, Grand River and Joy, Detroiters will recognize as an intersection, and far from being an uplifting statement, the book explores the city’s racial tensions that exploded with the 1967 riots—“complex, challenging, and bitterly funny.” On the “to read” list.
Two stories—“Wilderness of Ghosts” by Janis Hubschman and “Patient History” by Baird Harper—focused on young women troubled at leaping the chasm from late adolescence to “what’s next.” “Gladstone,” a charming story by Marjorie Celona, nicely capture the skewed neighborhood observations and preoccupations of a group of 10-year-old boys. Her novel Y—about the fractured life of a newborn baby left at the YMCA with a great many questions—one Goodreads reader said, “I don’t think I have ever been so sad to see a book end.”