The Barcelona ReviewAn electronic, bilingual, bi-monthly, English-Spanish Review of Contemporary Fiction, REVISTA INTERNACIONAL DE NARRATIVA BREVETBR Small Pressshort stories, bilingual, translations, poetry, audio, Catalan, Spanish, Castellano
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issue 35

International Review of Contemporary Fiction

March - April 2003

The Barcelona ReviewAlexei Sayle is best known outside the UK for his portrayal of various Balowski family members in the classic 80s TV comedy The Young Ones (popular in Spain, where it’s shown in translation). These days he’s focused on writing and it comes as no surprise that the result is some wickedly dark and twisted humor. In Barcelona Plates we follow an English bloke on holiday in Spain, and along the way we discover the answer to one of life’s recently pondered mysteries.

Scottish writer Laura Hird is known for her lovably raunchy working-class characters, as seen in her numerous short stories and the novel Born Free. In The Happening we encounter a female who wakes up in an alcoholic haze with a strange man in her bed, the result (somehow) of that most dangerous of annual events - the Christmas office party. We also have an interview with Laura Hird, in which she speaks of her writing, Edinburgh, film and football preferences and other good stuff.

American writer Barbara Lefcowitz has appeared before in TBR with an intriguing series of prose villanelle triads, in which she juxtaposes three seemingly disparate objects or ideas and tries to work out their interconnections. Medea, The Girl from Albania, The Walking Tree is a variation of that format and the result is a rich and finely textured, beguiling - and very readable - piece.

Writer Gretchen McCullough is an American who is currently teaching at the American University of Cairo. In her essay March 2003: Letter from Cairo she offers insight into the current mood of the city and touches on what it’s like to be an American in the midst of it as the US gears up for war.

Ever wonder what it would be like to be truly gender free? It’s possible in the virtual world of LambdaMOO. Sue Thomas (UK) explains the origin and concept of what’s known as the ‘spivak’ gender, and invites you to have a go.

In our Picks from Back Issues we have Des Dillon´s delightful story The Blue Hen. We’re happy to announce that Des Dillon’s novel Me and Ma Gal was chosen as the Scottish winner in the World Book Day ‘We Are What We Read’ Poll. (World Book Day, by the way, is celebrated on April 23, except in the UK and Ireland, where this year it took place on March 6. Don’t ask!) Our other pick is a selection from Pedro Juan Gutiérrez's gritty novel Dirty Havana Trilogy.

We had two winners for last issue’s Graham Greene quiz - Dawn Thornton and Val Kirk, both from the UK. Into the hat went the names and out came Dawn, who wins a gift certificate of 30 euros at Amazon. This issue our quiz is All About Books - titles, make-up, quotes, etc. Jump in and give it a try.

Book reviews are on Adios, Muchachos by Cuban writer Daniel Chavarría and the anthology Strictly Casual: Fiction by Women on Love, edited by Amy Prior, both published by Serpent’s Tail.

We also offer a special section of links taken from UK periodicals in which writers Martin Amis, Zadie Smith, Julian Barnes, J.G. Ballard, Margaret Drabble Arundhati Roy and others speak out on Bush’s push for war on Iraq, which, sadly, may well be underway any day now. It was a moving experience on Feb.15 to witness the million-plus marchers who turned out in Barcelona (with similar numbers in most major European cities) to protest the war - i.e., this war, at this time. It was the biggest demonstration in the city’s history, backed by the mayor and city hall. Barcelona is not nearly the hot spot that Cairo is, but feelings run high, as is visibly evident with the ‘No a la Guerra!’ stickers, posters and banners that appear everywhere . . . and the street protests continue. Yesterday, in a show of opposition, business owners and workers throughout the city left the workplace and stood outside from 12:00-12:15.  This afternoon, March 15, there will be a human chain from the American consulate to the local offices of Spain’s ruling party, which, as in England, backs the war effort despite the overwhelming objection of the people.

Meanwhile . . . we hope you enjoy our current offerings; we’ll be back with our sixth anniversay issue in mid-May. Let us hear from you. We welcome your comments.

Jill Adams
  Jill Adams, editor


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With over five years' 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. This text is the link.

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