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Santa Monica Review - Spring 2005

  • Issue Number: Volume 17 Number 1
  • Published Date: Spring 2005
  • Publication Cycle: Biannual
This issue of Santa Monica Review is an extraordinary collection of memorable short stories and novel excerpts. Editor Andrew Tonkovich has selected outstanding first-person narrations with the theme of morality, as well as religion, appearing in most and uniting them in surprising ways. From the amusing dangers of “Daily Evangelism," by James D. Houston to Paul Eggers's moving "A Thinly Veiled Autobiography Regarding My Reasons for Giving Up Chess," moral concerns rank high. In Roberto Ontiveros's "The Fight for Space," the narrator—meshing his mundane job and intellectual super-hero obsessions with Batman's fictional universe—comes down hard on the comic-book icon: "Batman's trophy room pisses me off the most; it's like our hero does not want to find peace." More questions are raised than answered in "from Paul," by Michelle Latiolais' skillfully sad and timely story of unexpected suicide. Fittingly, in a journal originating from so near the scene of the crime, "Santa and the Black Dahlia," excerpted from Sharon Doubiago's My Father's Love, Portrait of the Poet as a Girl and Ariane Simard's "Brother" are tinsel-town stories to end such stories, and as dark as those of Nathaniel West. Christopher Hood's endearing "How I Met My Third Wife in Siberia," a Walter Mitty-type attempt at mending a broken heart, is thoroughly delightful as is Trinie Dalton's "Extreme Sweets." Founded in 1988 by Jim Krusoe, Santa Monica Review has published work by, to name a few of the better-known: Guy Davenport, Charles Baxter, Ann Beattie, Joyce Carol Oates, Peter Handke, Barry Hannah, Alice Adams, T. C. Boyle, Harlan Ellison, and David Foster Wallace. An exceptional journal, not as widely available as one would wish. – Anna Sidak
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Review Posted on March 24, 2016

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