Shadowplay by Norman Lock

Shadowplay (Ellipsis Press, 137 pages) by Norman Lock, is the 2010 Dactyl Foundation Literary Fiction Award recipient. Lock’s novella is a dense fable, mixing magic realism with self-reflexivity. The entire story is given to us in miniature at the beginning, such that the novella itself is really a constant retelling–a folding and refolding–rather than an […]

Shadowplay by Norman Lock

An uncanny tale of the limits and power of story telling, Shadowplay (Ellipsis Press, 137 pages) also works with a mesmerizing and subtle structure where the story repeats and folds into itself over and over again. Among Lock’s best work, it continues the self-conscious fascination and manipulation of the theme of “other” that appeared in works […]

Dactyl Foundation Award

For a number of decades, publishing has been dominated by commercial fiction, and less popular and hence less profitable literary fiction has little chance of being noticed by reviewers or placed on bookstore shelves.  New books are given about three months in front of judges and audiences. Those that don’t make it immediately are tossed […]

Chinese Checkers: Three Fictions by Mario Bellatin. Translated by Cooper Renner.

Chinese Checkers: Three Fictions (Ravenna Press, 139 pages). In “Hero Dogs: A Look at the Future of Latin America Envisioned as an Immobile Man and His 30 Belgian Malinois Shepherds” (2000), the collection’s second fiction, Bellatin reduces the theme of atrophied human nature and skewed relationships, explored in “Chinese Checkers,” to absurdity.  In a nearly […]

The Things They Carried, by Tim O’Brien

IN SURREAL VIETNAM, AND BACK HOME IN THE UNREALITY OF THE U.S.A. The title story of The Things They Carried: A Work of Fiction (Houghton-Mifflin, 246 pages, from the Series: Looking Back at Literary Classics of the Past) comes first in the collection, a story cataloging all the different things that an American foot soldier, […]