This collection of stories was not so much a thrill as a chore, and given the fact I have yet to read a few numbers of the quarterly, makes me hopeful...moreThis collection of stories was not so much a thrill as a chore, and given the fact I have yet to read a few numbers of the quarterly, makes me hopeful I will find this a fluke, given I am still subscribed to McSweeney's and have collected all of the back issues over the years.
I can't help but wonder if many, as myself, have been drawn to the design and spirit of the quarterly, to find after some time, an unchanging vein of storytelling that begins to lose its luster. Still, great names in literature grace its pages, and I am always thrilled to see what fun design comes next, and I can think of some stories that stand out (and authors that frequent McSweeney's) strongly in my mind. You would hope that a periodical as this would serve a wide range of readers, so it should be a good sign when a publication does not please just one reader all of the time.
McSweeney's is a dream for those who are obsessed with books themselves and not just their content. I am one of those who cracks my books and flips the pages at my nose to waft their scent towards me. McSweeney's smells good, looks great, and reads pretty well, but I was not that thrilled with Issue 25.
Stories I enjoyed most:
"The Tower" by Steven Millhauser "Magda Maria" by Joyce Carol Oates "A Death in Custody" by Chloe Hooper
I thought "Yuri" by Connor Kilpatrick was a pretty good story, but I am tired of these types of narratives, which are common in McSweeney's and seem super popular nowadays in general; a dispassionate, semi-sociopathic narrator coldly relates details from their lives, which usually involve gory content and their indifference to it.
"Peacekeepers, 1995" by Kenneth Bonnert, was ambitious, and hopeful, but seemed self-consciously crafted and became tedious. David Hollander's "The Naming of the Islands was kind of interesting, but seemed like a sketch that was not quite realized. Nothing else in the collection struck me as mentionable. I found myself looking up often, or switching to other books while trying to read this one. (less)