The Way the World Works

I received my contributor’s copies of The Chattahoochee Review. The magazine boasts a new editorial staff led by Anna Schachner and Lydia Ship and its list of contributors reads like an embarrassment of riches.

It’s a gorgeous issue with cover and layout design by Vanessa Lowry that’s pretty to look at and satisfying to hold. The issue contains my review of Roxane Gay’s forthcoming collection, Ayiti. Thus far I’ve read in order: Anna Schachner’s editorial note; Aimee Bender’s story, “Origin Lessons”; Roxane Gay’s story, “More Hers Than His”; Caitlin Horrocks’s story, “Flight” and Kevin Wilson’s “A Series of Lessons.”

Just like the characters in Kevin Wilson’s story, “A Series of Lessons,” as a child, I killed slugs with salt. Our family also killed mice with traps and once, in our back garden, my brother’s friend killed a rat with a hurling stick. I remember rolled newspapers with black, bloodied dots of fly parts.

I most remember our dogs. The theme of ‘lessons’ is woven throughout this magazine issue. The lesson I learned from keeping dogs as a child is how cruel we can be to the beings we love.

From Kevin Wilson’s “A Series of Lessons”:

“The animal, now ten feet from Caleb, is not the dog that he has dreamed of for these past few months. Mangy and covered in mud, its back is hunched and the fur standing up as if touched by electricity, the color actually darkening. There is a sound now, low and steady, and it freezes Caleb in place, a growl punctuated by sharp exhalations of breath. Caleb’s extended hand is now curled into a fist, and he slowly pulls it away from the animal, which is no longer moving, the muscles jumping across its skin. Caleb knows not to run, but this is all he can think of, to simply stay in one place and hope that things will fix themselves, which he has begun to learn, unfortunately, is not the way the world works.”


The Chattahoochee Review Volume 31.1-2 

Fiction by Aimee Bender, Mathilde Walter Clark (trans. Martin Aitken),
Roxane Gay, Hannah Gersen, Caitlin Horrocks, Phong Nguyen,
Timothy Schaffert, Anthony Varallo, Kevin Wilson, and Rolf Yngve.

Poetry by Denver Butson, Fred Chappell, Chris Garrecht-Williams,
Chris Mink, Mike Smith, Natasha Trethewey, Kelley Jean White,
Paul White, and Robert Wrigley.

Essays by Augustín Cadena (trans. C.M. Mayo), Edward Hower,
and Lisa Lopez Snyder, winner of the Lamar York Prize for Nonfiction.

Drama by Joyelle McSweeney.

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