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issue 20
september - october 2000

International Review

of Contemporary Fiction


Carole Maso Special
Three Book Reviews

Our goal at TBR is to present the best of contemporary, international, cutting-edge fiction - writing with a unique vitality that immediately commands attention, shows stylistic and imaginative distinction, and is literarily sound. To that end we are committed to publishing a wide variety of styles and techniques, everything from cyberpunk to new-millennium postmodern. And if ever there were a champion, a model, a spokesperson for our goals . . . that would be American writer Carole Maso, author of 6 novels, the latest: Defiance (1998). In her recently released collection of essays, Break Every Rule, she appeals to readers and writers alike to look beyond the the prescribed canon and conventional literary devices and embrace "the challenge and magic of language." We are pleased in this issue to present the final, tour-de-force essay from the collection along with an in-depth interview, in which she speaks of the state of present-day fiction and publishing, language and form, her own writing (including her soon-to-be-realeased journal), her baby Rose....and much more.

We also have a prococative essay by U.K. novelist Lawrence Norfolk on the art of translation - or is it an art? - that set our translators chattering (agreeing here, disagreeing there), mostly thrilled to read an essay that addressed their profession at all, and by Lawrence Norfolk at that. We invited translators to reply to the essay and so offer their comments as well.



George Saunders
Sea Oak

Anthony Bourdain
Bobby At Work

Robert Antoni
How Iguana Got her Wrinkles...

Anne Donovan

Yvonne Vera
excerpt from Butterfly Burning

Clayton Hansen
A Box For The Sand Country

from Spanish

Nuria Amat
excerpt from Intimacy


Carole Maso
Rupture, Verge, and Precipice
Precipice, Verge, and Hurt Not

Lawrence Norfolk
Being Translated,
or the Virgin Mary's Hair

Translators' Replies to Norfolk


John Ashbery
3 Poems

Jonathan Monroe
3 Poems


Carole Maso


Harry Crews

Answers to last issue's
Toni Morrison Quiz

Book Reviews

Three by Carole Maso

The Room Lit by Roses
Break Every Rule

Barbara Jones
Moonlight Bowl Manifesto

Stephen Jones The Bad Book 

Stuart David Nalda Said

Wang Shuo

Please Don’t Call Me Human

Anthony Bourdain
Kitchen Confidential

In fiction we have George Saunders (U.S.), the riotous, surreal satirist, who, like the best in the genre, is a sharp and intuitive visionary (see TBR’s review of Pastoralia). Saunders gained an immediate cult following with the publication of his short-fiction collection CivilWarLand in Bad Decline (1995), an all-time TBR favorite. With the publication of his second collection this year, he’s now a known name. We over here like to think we discovered him - since we read him first in manuscript before CivilWarLand was even published - but some of his fiction, we learned, had previously appeared in the U.S. (The New Yorker, of all places), so word was already out. But that’s what we want . . . to get the word out. So, if you haven’t yet read Saunders or you’ve been waiting for more, here’s one of his latest (available here also in Spanish with the Catalan soon to come). . . .read and enjoy.

Also from the U.S. we have Anthony Bourdain, best known for his humorous exposé on what really goes on in the chef’s kitchen (Kitchen Confidential), but also a fine, amusing and different sort of crime writer, as seen in his short piece "Bobby at Work." Robert Antoni (Divinia Trace, 1991) grew up in the Caribbean and draws here on the rich vernacular of the islands to create a 97-year-old Corpus Christi granny who spins delightfully erotic tales in a classic, yet utterly unique, folktale tradition. From Scotland, we have Anne Donovan, an impressive new writer discovered by Canongate Press, who will publish her first collection in the spring of next year. And from Australia we present new writer Clayton Hansen who won us over with his evocative piece set in bygone days of the Australian outback. We are also pleased to present, from Zimbabwe, a nicely self-contained chapter from Yvonne Vera’s lyrical novel Butterfly Burning (due out in the U.S. this Sept.), read by the author at a gathering here in Barcelona last spring. In translation, internationally known Spanish writer, Nuria Amat, appears in our pages for the second time, this issue with a first-ever translation from a major work: an extract from La intimidad (Intimacy) translated by U.K.'s Peter Bush. Hopefully, the novel will soon find an English-language publisher.

In poetry - something old, something new. Contributing TBR editor Melcion Mateu Adrover recently completed the first-ever Catalan translation of John Ashbery: the classic collection Some Trees (1956). We are pleased to present three poems from the book in both the original and Catalan. The bilingual edition will appear sometime in 2001. Mateu also chose to translate (in Spanish and Catalan) three poems from American Jonathan Monroe’s recent collection Hinge of Speech.

No winner for last issue’s Toni Morrison Quiz, but a few close calls. (Click here for answers.) This issue’s quiz: Harry Crews. Know the origin of the poem tattooed on his arm? You’re off to a good start. Winner receives a free book.

Be sure to check out Book Reviews and Back Issues - an ever-growing archive of contemporary classics. Let us know if you’d like to be informed when new issues are available. Our next edition will appear around Nov. 15th. As always, we welcome your comments. . . .


Jill Adams

Jill Adams, editor E


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Remember to check out our past issues...

Over three  year's worth of short fiction, plays & interviews from such diverse talents as Douglas Coupland, Irvine Welsh, Pinckney Benedict, G.K. Wuori, Scott Heim, A.M. Homes, Alan Warner, Poppy Z. Brite, Laura Hird, Elissa Wald, Jason Starr, Brian Evenson and new kids on the Net like William Cuthbertson, Aimee Krajewski, Jean Kusina, David Alexander, Lenny T and Victor Saunders.

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