Literary Reviews, Page 68

“Tongue Tricks,” by Christopher Shelley

FRiGG, edited by Ellen Parker, is quite a good online publication. Unlike most literary journals, its offered fiction pieces are more popular than artsy in tone, and overall it reminds one of Eclectica Magazine in many respects. FRiGG considers fiction to eight thousand words, as well as poetry, under the jurisdiction of Poetry Editor (and publication designer) Sean Farragher. FRiGG has a resident graphic artist (“EnoraF”) on staff, with his work as exhibited within the zine being extremely good. (The publication will apparently occasionally use graphics from others, though no note is made regarding requests for such submissions.)

FRiGG will consider reprints from print publications provided the stories in question have not appeared online on the publications' websites. Simultaneous submissions are accepted. No payment to contributors is presently offered, and it is a quarterly publication.

Unlike any other publication I have yet encountered, FRiGG has a staff member (Meridith Gresher) designated as the publication’s proofreader, an office many online publications could sorely use. The benefit of such a personage is reflected within FRiGG, as the editorship is generally first-rate, though occasional lapses occur, along with some styling concerns. (For example, in the story I am about to review, foreign language passages are not italicized as normative.)

The stories presented are varied in tenor and are for the most part very good. I could have chosen to review any of the several stories from FRiGG I had the pleasure to read, as all were worthwhile. One I would like to mention in passing is “Absorbed,” [Fall, 2003] by Ellen Champagne, which is part of a collaborative effort by a group of writers creating a set of interrelated stories focusing on characters who all live within the same suburban cul-de-sac. Ms. Champagne notes that she is fascinated with the “disconnected,” people who wander through life largely unnoticed.

This particular piece involves characterizations of spouses and their ten-year old boy, with the latter’s bordering on the bizarre. The child is portrayed as a peculiar mixture of precociousness and innocence; normalcy and social detachment seemingly approaching Asperger’s Syndrome. As much as the piece taxes the reader’s credulity at times, Ms. Champagne presents a fascinating juvenile character study, the mark of an extraordinarily talented writer and social observer.  Click to continue:

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