American Short Fiction

Still going strong with my weekly reviews of literary journals and genre magazines.

Established in 1991, American Short Fiction publishes three issues a year from Austin TX.

What they say about themselves:American Short Fiction was founded in 1991 by Laura Furman at the University of Texas Press… Issued triannually, American Short Fiction publishes work by emerging and established voices: stories that dive into the wreck, that stretch the reader between recognition and surprise, that conjure a particular world with delicate expertise—stories that take a different way home… In the inaugural issue of the magazine, which included Joyce Carol Oates and a young Dagoberto Gilb, Furman wrote of the ‘shared love and respect for narrative itself’ that formed the foundation of American Short Fiction and continued: ‘We have great faith in our readers. We are sure that, just as we do, they have a love of reading and a desire for the involvement that good writing gives us all.’ Our goal here at American Short Fiction is to respect that involvement by offering consistently intelligent, engrossing, and beautiful reading, in print and on this website, and we appreciate your company.”

Issue reviewed: Volume 23, Issue 70 (Winter 2020)

Genre: Literary realism

One Story I’ll Remember Not to Forget: “The Redwoods,” by Joyce Carol Oates. After suffering a fatal stroke, a man named Vanbrugh visits his wife and son, and remembers a moment from a hike in the redwoods several decades earlier. A ghost story in which the spirit is the one who’s haunted.

Clapperboard Rating: One Klack. The prose is consistently excellent, with characters and settings firmly rooted in the real world. “The Redwoods” featured a ghost, but the focus of the story was on the main character’s life rather than his afterlife activities.

Profanometer: Sonovabitch. Some, but not all, of the stories went a little overboard with the f-bombs.

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2 thoughts on “American Short Fiction

  1. keep writing. your reviews. Always interesting. Keeps me informed about the writing voices out there that are beyond what I would normally encounter.(or even go looking for)

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