In October, ten thousand people from the general public voted for the best award-winning book of fiction released in the last sixty years, and the winner was a short story collection, one by Flannery O'Connor. Of the other five finalists, three were also short story collections, those by John Cheever, William Faulkner, and Eudora Welty.
Of course, "best" is always a subjective term in the world of art and literature, and these results are from a single source, albeit a prominent one: the National Book Foundation. Yet, is there a message here?
For as long as we can remember, the novel was considered the pre-eminent work of fiction, not the short story. And so, what's with all this celebration? We're happy to see the short form given such recognition, that which we whole-heartedly believe it deserves.
Would you agree that the power of humor in literature is under-recognized? We think it is. The humor doesn't necessarily have to be front-and-center—the main purpose of a piece being pure whimsical entertainment, the chief objective to make the reader laugh. The work could carry a deeper, underlying message, with humor used as a tool to carry the reader along, to engage, to cause a grin, smile, and, yes, maybe even a laugh, while still delivering something else.
Such is the case with one work we are running in this issue, a short story entitled, "I Am a Famous Writer," by Robert Day, and such is the case with our Lit Pick of the Quarter, a story called "The Fleischer/Giaccondo Online Gift Registry," by Wendy Rawlings, in Issue 55 of Sonora Review. A resentful, bohemian sister is the maid of honor in this story, surrounded by witty, crisp narrative. Get a load of this beginning -
|The Crate and Barrel online gift registry displays columns headed WANTS and HAS, so that the prospective gift buyer (family and friends of, in this case, Lorraine M. Fleischer and Richard Giaccondo, M.D.) can compare the number of items the bride wishes to receive with the number already purchased for her. The bride, for instance, WANTS eight Birgitta Goblets and at this time HAS four Birgitta Goblets. She WANTS one Caliente Salsa Bowl W/Spoon and yet, as of 11:53 p.m. on this balmy night in May, she HAS zero Caliente Salsa Bowls W/Spoon. However, one cannot claim that events aren't unfolding in concert with the bride's wishes because according to the Crate and Barrel online gift registry, as of this mid-May's balmy night, the soon-to-be Mrs. Richard Giaccondo WANTS one Gourmet Butter Spreader and indeed HAS one Gourmet Butter Spreader. She WANTS one Gravy / Sauce Boat Nautical and lo and behold she HAS one Gravy / Sauce Boat Nautical. She wants twelve Gourmet Flatware Placesets and by god all twelve Gourmet Flatware Placesets are hers. Things, as they say, are coming along.|
|The Summerset Review|
|Joseph Levens - Editor|
|Amy Leigh Owen – Associate Editor|
|Meredith Davies Hadaway – Poetry Editor|
|Lindsay Denninger – Assistant Editor|
|A literary journal released quarterly on the 15th of March, June, September, and December on the Internet, and periodically in print form. Founded in 2002, the journal is devoted to the review and publication of unsolicited fiction, nonfiction, and poetry.
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