Literary Reviews, Page 6

"Family Five and Dime," [storySouth; Fall, 2006] by PJ Woodside, is the closest thing I've read in storySouth to a commercial and somewhat pedestrian story.

storySouth is like no other zine I've yet investigated. It is most decidedly not intended as literature for the masses. It is a highbrow literary journal which often features writers with doctorates or MFAs, often associated with universities and colleges. Many have had their work featured in similarly artsy print literary journals and have been contenders in mostly highbrow literary awards. One gets the impression that the targeted readership is their peers, while the average reader is left to the likes of Mario Puzo, John Grisham and O. Henry.

As one would expect, the writing is uniformly erudite; chock-full of subtle nuances and symbolic literary devices which renders a meaningful review of many of the presented stories somewhat problematic and replete with pitfalls and potential pratfalls in trying to discern an author's intentions. I must confess that in regard to one offered story in a past edition I did not understand it at all and have difficulty discerning what it has to do with the South, "new" or otherwise.

Most of the stories are written in the first person, which seems to be almost de rigueur in chic literary circles these days, while two from the current issue are written in the present tense; which, to this reviewer, seems less an enticing novelty than a distraction which hinders a reader's comprehension and appreciation of a work.

Editors Jason Sanford and Jake Adam York obviously take a great deal of pride in their online publication, as well they should. The zine is impeccable in presentation, presenting fine fiction, poetry, non-fiction and reviews with a "new South" flavor. They are not interested in stereotypical accounts of the South's pre-integration days; instead wishing to showcase and celebrate writers and stories that will establish new South literature as more mainstream, while still retaining a touch of its historic regional flavor.

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