The Barcelona Review. International Review of Contemporary Fiction

Bookcase. tbr issue 95

Welcome to Issue 95.  We're pleased to offer English author Elizabeth Baines's story, Kiss.  In quick but powerful strokes, we see the convergence of three lives: there are the lovers, who have emerged from harsh backgrounds, about to kiss outside a London tube station, and a looming other.  The implications of that union are—everything.

Next up is Alien, set in Las Vegas, by U.S. writer Brett. A. Riley.  What happens when what appears to be a UFO—or is it a publicity stunt? — lands by the Bellagio and a man steps off in a 50's suit and fedora?  It's a fun ride and touching as well.  I love the Las Vegas setting, which I rarely see. 

American writer Lawrence Schimel, a long-time resident of Madrid,  takes a playful but telling turn as he reconstructs fairly tales into prose-poetry tales for writers; hence, we have Cinderella appearing as an anonymous reader at a poetry slam, piquing the interest of an editor, but where does she disappear to?  It's a pure delight for writers and readers both.

In creative non-fiction, Canadian Mark Anthony Jarman gives us The Bright Drug of Travel.  Nothing very pleasant about arriving in Shanghai and being ushered to a backroom.  Travel is exhausting, the jet lag powerful, cultural differences challenging and sometimes frightening, but The Bund looms bright, friends provide good company, and the experience proves memorable; while for the reader Jarman's prose cracks sharp in the telling. Back in Canada, he swears off any more "joyless airports," but then comes an invitation . . .

U.S. writer Jim McGarrah takes us back in time to the early 70s when rock reigned supreme and a laid-back lifestyle prevailed. The author, back from a stint in Viet Nam, finds himself in a comfortable commune where through a friend he discovers a mesmerizing, genius of a guitarist unknown to the world. Thanks to McGarrah's deft portrait,  however, John Schilling and his Fender Stratocaster come alive and sweep us up in the magic of the era.

In our picks from back issues we have Trauma Plate by Adam Johnson (issue 33)   and The Man Who Went Out for Cigarettes by Michael Knight (issue 11).  Both are super reads.

Our quiz this issue is the Literature of Illinois. 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 Indiana click here. We had several correct answers on this one; the name drawn was Laura Hird from Edinburgh, Scotland.

Our book review this issue is on Margaret Atwood's The Testaments, where we finally get to know what happened in Gilead - whew!  But no spoilers here, don't worry.

Local News:  Spain's supreme court has ruled on the nine incarcerated Catalan separatists, convicting them variously of sedition, misuse of public funds and disobedience over the 2017 independence vote. Protesters have taken to the street here in Barcelona as they vow to appeal the sentence before the E.U.  You can read all about it here in The Guardian.

Our next issue is due out in January. 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 so we cannot guarantee a notification.

Jill Adams

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