ISSUES | spring 2010

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33.1 (Spring 2010): "Uncharted"

Featuring the winners of the 2009 Jeffrey E. Smith Editors’ Prize, and work by Sarah Blackman, May-lee Chai, Kerry Hardie, Tom Ireland, Reese Okyong Kwon, Rachel Riederer, Diane Simmons, Jonathan Starke… and an interview with Robert Wrigley.

CONTENT FROM THIS ISSUE

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Nonfiction

Mar 01 2010

Famous

On the night of November 26, 2008, two men walked into Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus in Mumbai, India, and started shooting and throwing grenades into the crowds of travelers “indiscriminately,” as reported in the official Indian account of the attack. In a railway station that accommodates two million passengers every day, a place where one can hardly stand during peak hours without being swept into a river of people, they couldn’t very well have missed. In minutes the dead and dying lay throughout the concourse, their limbs splayed in grotesque postures, and blood pooled on the station’s concrete floor.

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Nonfiction

Mar 01 2010

What Happens to Heroes

I rolled the glass vial in my hand, back and forth, as if I were rocking the steroids to sleep. Ben had just lifted it from a small box hidden in his bedroom. The box looked like the kind of case gamblers might carry to hold their chips all in a row. I’d watched Ben’s big fingers pry open the latches and raise the lid. Inside, several small vials were lined up neatly, the syringes askew; two of them slanted so that the skinny needles pointed right at me.

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Fiction

Mar 01 2010

Tomorrow in Shanghai

Zhang Xiaobing would not have called himself a bad person, should anyone have been given the opportunity to pose such a question to the prisoner. In fact, if you asked anyone other than the court-appointed defense attorney whose main function in the trial was to enter Zhang’s guilty plea, the prosecutor and the panel of three judges, who had found him guilty and sentenced him to death, very few people who knew Zhang would have said he was a bad person—wicked, evil, corrupt, a low-born thing, a turtle’s egg, a nonhuman devil whose crimes would merit the ultimate punishment.

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Fiction

Mar 01 2010

Exotic Animal Medicine

“My first vodka as a married woman,” said Sarah. She sat against David and felt the day carry them toward each other. The hours passed at the pub, and they didn’t think of going home, although this was what they looked forward to: the privacy of their bed against smudged windows, its view of small gardens and the beat of trapped bees against glass that shook as the buses moved by.  Their bed was a long way from the colleges and the river, but the bells would still come over the roads and houses, and they would be alone, and married. The day moved them both toward the moment in which they would face each other in their bed, utterly familiar, and see that despite their marriage there was no change, and that this was just what they wanted.

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Interviews

Mar 01 2010

A Conversation with Robert Wrigley

If you don’t love stories, then what takes the place of that desire? We live by stories; they are the bedrock of articulate human existence. It’s not possible to imagine a world in which there are no stories. The problem comes in the telling, of course. In my family, stories were a kind of spendable currency, and everyone told them. I suppose if one were determined to forget where he came from, that would require a kind of militant denial of one’s own past, and while such a denial might be eff ected, it’s really a species of pathology.