>LitMag Wave: A Public Space 03

>There’s a lot of excellent reading in Issue 03 of A Public Space, but the highlight for me is definitely “Quiet Men” by Leslie Jamison. [One has the sense that the editors feel the same way, since the rest of the fiction is lumped together and this long story stands alone between the poetry and the special section on Peru.] Given how wonderful this story is, I was surprised to learn from the contributors’ notes that this is her first published story. I suspect it will win an award. This is the story of Marianne, in San Francisco, who falls in love with a poet (who, unlike the other men in her life, remains unnamed in the story). The poet is brilliant and funny and they are great together, until he dumps her. Whether his cover story is real—his love for her is making him less complicated, he says—or whether she spills too much information about herself isn’t clear and can’t be clear. It’s what drives her then from man to man. About the poet:

“I loved seeing his mind veering into thoughts, each one an original moment. I felt something open in myself. It was right and possible to see the Pacific all at once, the whole goddamned thing. You couldn’t see it at all without having it stretch further than you could see.”

It’s an excellent story.

“Testimony” by Keith Lee Morris is also good, and the voice is fresh, despite the narrator’s tedious involvement with drugs. (I’m bored by drug stories; it’s hard to see how drugs—or cancer, or divorce—can be at the center of a good story anymore.) But here we have a narrator who is retelling his testimony at the trial of his friend, charged with killing another friend. The structure makes for awkward but unique sentences, where the witness/narrator is talking about what the prosecutor asks him. He is really telling us that during the course of giving his testimony he came to understand what really happened. It’s well done.

“The Night They First Played Monster Eyes” by Jonathan Lethem isn’t really a story, but it’s a fantastic description of a moment.

There is also some good poetry here but the only piece I’ll mention is “An Aching Young Man” by Reginald Gibbons. It’s a moving poem. Interestingly, I believe Gibbons was one Brigid Hughes’s teachers at Northwestern when she was undergraduate there.

Next Up: One Story

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