The latest in my series of reviews of literary journals and genre magazines.

Relief is “a journal of art and faith” that publishes one print issue a year.


What they say about themselves: “For over a decade, Relief has helped shape the landscapes of faith and imagination for readers around the world. In our annual print journal, we feature fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, graphic narrative, and reviews by some of today’s finest literary practitioners, alongside emerging voices. We also publish new reflections on our blog each week—meditations by diverse writers pondering our contemporary moment through the rich lenses of art and faith.

Relief eschews tidy ‘inspirational’ writing that represses the troublesome and complex dimensions of our lives. Instead we are dedicated to human flourishing through literature.

In architectural terms, a relief is a raised projection of figures or forms on a flat surface. It is an image caught somewhere between 2D and 3D. For us, relief is a metaphor: It is work that nudges us toward a fully-embodied reality, toward seeing face-to-face rather than in a mirror dimly. We celebrate writing that broadens our perspectives on the world and humanity, moving us ever closer to the true and beautiful — and in turn, the true and beautiful bring us another kind of relief.”

Issue reviewed: Spring 2020

Genre: Spiritual (mostly Christian) literary fiction

One Story I’ll Remember Not to Forget: “Summit,” by Anna Trujillo. Seeking a momentary escape from her stressful job and uninspiring life, an anonymous young woman hikes regularly on a nearby mountain. When she encounters someone at the summit one day, she’s forced to make an important decision. The main character’s physical struggle mirror her inner turmoil in a clear way without being heavy-handed.

Clapperboard Rating: One Klack. The characters wrestle with their conscience more than they do with each other.

Profanometer: Gee Willikers. Not a profanity or blasphemy in sight.

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