Saturday, 10 March 2018


McSweeney's #50 edited by Dave Eggers  {Reviewed by STELLA}
McSweeney’s literary magazine, founded by author Dave Eggers, has been publishing a quarterly for over twenty years. What started as a magazine that only published work that had been rejected from the mainstream journals has developed into an institution of experimental and intriguing short pieces and comic art. Issue 50 is a salute to the short story, to the importance of publishing new work and giving exposure to new writers. While this issue, which was a call-out to 50 writers to submit new work, includes some well-known names (Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Jonathan Lethem, Lydia Davis, Sheila Heti), the writing from them is fresh and unexpected. And there are plenty of new authors to discover. Steven Millhauser’s 'Thank You for Your Patience' will resonate for anyone that ever been on hold for an inordinate period of time, while Sherman Alexie’s tale of a romantic woe on a pizza delivery job pay packet serves us a slice of farcical reality. Romance also raises its head in Haris.A.Durrani’s excellent and pithy 'Forty-Two Reasons Your Girlfriend Works for the FBI, CIA, NSA, ICE, S.H.I.E.L.D., Fringe Division, Men in Black, or Cylon Overlords'. Workplace frustrations are central to Dan Kennedy’s removable one-page tirades, 'Please Clean the Kitchen, Please Refill the Paper Tray and Please Reserve Conference Room Ahead of Time', will be at home on all office walls. Jesse Ball and Brian Evenson’s darkly funny 'Deaths of Henry King' has a nod to Edward Gorey’s alphabet book, The Gashlycrumb Tinies, and Jeff Parker’s 'Hero' will make you laugh and squirm. Collections are always tricky things and some works are stronger than others, yet this one will have you dipping back in to discover and enjoy. From the reversible, folded cover (it becomes a poster if desired) to the short short story by Sarah Manguso (an author that you should seek out more work of) on the front board to the delights in experiencing so many writing styles in one volume, this is a gem of current American short story writing. 

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