Thought I'd post again about some of the excellent work I've been reading via the literary journals I picked up at the recent AWP conference in Atlanta. Today's selection is the Winter 2007 issue of The Cincinnati Review, a beautiful publication I'd love to see my own work in someday (believe me, I've tried). In the meantime, I'm happy enough that the new issue includes Susan Perabo's extraordinary short story, "The Payoff." And I'm happy to be able to point you to an excerpt online. Click here to get to the journal; then click "issues." If you click on Susan's name within the Winter 2007 listing (make sure pop-ups are enabled), you'll get the excerpt.
I've been lucky enough to be in a classroom under Susan's direction, and even luckier that I believe I may call her a friend. But even without that bias, I'd recommend her work wholeheartedly. I first read her story collection, Who I Was Supposed to Be, about six years ago, and I'm still in awe of the ease (she makes it look easy, anyway) and skill with which Susan creates a true range of vivid characters and stories. (This particularly impresses me because I've often felt a little "caught" in work of my own that might most charitably be called slightly repetitive.) Fiction writers have a lot to learn from Susan's prose, and all readers will find plenty to enjoy.
(For more on this issue of The Cincinnati Review [and Susan's story in particular], see the review at NewPages.com)