Saturday, December 23, 2006

Book #51 - McSweeney's Issue 20

Edited by Dave Eggers

Every fourth page is a full-color figurative painting, each one by an excellent artist. The other three pages have fiction on them, with only one color but lots of words, including punched, pants, and Puerto—that’s actually just the first page. After that, there are stories exploring animal-plant romances, psycho librarians, and passive-aggressive ventriloquism. No fewer than two dictators appear as protagonists.

I like illustrations so that made this an interesting issue. McSweeney's definitely gets points for the creative ways they bind and package their literary magazine. As I've come to expect though, some of the stories weren't to my taste, but that's not to say I didn't like any of them. My favourite is The Man Who Married a Tree by Tony D'Souza, which reminded me slightly of a couple of Ali Smith's tree-centred stories.
It's always hard to rate a collection of short stories by different authors, but since the ones I didn't like neutralised the ones I did, overall I'd give it a rating of average.

My Rating: 2.5/5


  1. Was that the only one you liked? I thought it was a decent issue. Dug the story about Saddam Hussein by Sam Miller.

  2. No, I liked others while I was reading too, just it was the one that stuck out for me this issue. Someone mentioned on another blog (and I can't remember where now) that to fully enjoy all of an anthology of short stories by various authors, one needs to have the same taste as the Editor. This made sense to me, and I think I don't have quite the same taste as Dave Eggers. Still enjoy receiving it though and reading some new authors I most likely wouldn't otherwise.


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