Tuesday, June 16, 2009

"Armadillos Carry Leprosy"

Journal Review 1: Noon 2009, the Terse Fecalists

Terse, tough mini-stories populate the 2009 edition of Noon.  Shot through with common shades of brown, a number of the stories survey the scatological and pornographic. The good ones, and almost all of them were good, are abjectly unsentimental little blasts.  I'd like to pick up some back issues.  It looks like they keep a pretty firm stable of regulars from year to year, but the overall voice is refreshing.  The shortness of some of these stories makes the longer ones seem sentimental.  Captive moods and moments.  The stand-outs include Brandon Hobson (the title of this entry comes from his "Gas Station"), Tao Lin, Deb Olin Unferth, Rebecca Curtis, Clancy Martin, Christine Schutt, and Gary Lutz.

Christine Schutt's "Hair of the Dog" presents an interesting contextual ambiguity.  The couple progress through the story committing what seem to be decadent acts that go by undefined.  The reader has only the character's reticence to interpret what may have happened.  A sort of tantalizing vagueness that does a lot to summarize the sliding line of what's acceptable in society.    

Gary Lutz and Rebecca Curtis both make some interesting syntactical leaps.  Curtis's "On Rape" turns on the same satiric dime as Swift in "A Modest Proposal". Curtis's piece comes off with both ambivalence and sardonic anger.  Lutz (dealt with in atomic precision here) works with a kind of syntactic enjambment, forcing words into places they don't normally belong.  The result is either a brutalization of the word or an expansion of language (depending on the delicacy of your linguistic sensibilities).   

Well laid out, somewhat adventurous, Noon 2009 is a tight collection of stories. 

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