And then there's the content: fine fiction, non-fiction and poetry. Issue No. 4, which isn't even mentioned yet on the magazine's website (due for an update, apparently) has three short stories worth mentioning. The first is "Assisted Living" by John Barth. Anything by Barth is worth reading, and this is no exception. It's from a new book of stories, from which he read at AWP in Atlanta this year. I'm looking forward to the book.
The opening story in the issue is "The Plan" by Katie Williams. The story is about Mallory, a pregnant teen who has agreed to give up her baby for adoption and is in the meantime living with the couple. They have another child, a daughter who is brain-injured as a result of an accident, and Mallory begins to have second thoughts about the plan.
"The Totsons moved Mallory into their house immediately; they wouldn't hear of her staying alone at a hotel, and she certainly couldn't stay on the streets. On the car ride over, they explained about their teenage daughter, Nicks, who hadn't appeared in either the picture or the profile in the binder. They raced each other to clarify that Nicks's accident wasn't the reason they wanted a second baby."Uh-huh. Right. It's a fine story.
I also really enjoyed "The Dynamics of Windows" by Kuzhali Manickavel. Prasanna lives in a South Indian village. She was once in charge of tsunami relief but now she's in charge of the library. She is visited at the library by Kathir who delivers a literary magazine from Australia in which one of his poems has been published. He reads it to Prasanna and thus begins a delightfully odd relationship. This is a very engaging story and I'll be on the lookout for more work by this author.
I only just now noticed as I finished writing this that there is an entire flash fiction piece printed on the back cover of the issue: "Powers" by David Ramsey. I like it!