Well, I finally got this finished and I can’t say that it was my favorite issue ever, although I certainly did enjoy four of the five short stories in there. There were 13 pieces of poetry involved that I didn’t really care for (like I said before that’s because I never have really understood poetry so no offense to the poets), one interview I didn’t finish, seven essays or “features” that didn’t compel me for too long, a nicely done “Pilgrimage” to a house made out of rocks in Carmel, CA, an uninspiring (to me) article on souffles and four book reviews, two of which were hilarious to read, but none of the books seemed like anything I would ever buy. The theme here is “Beauty” (being their 50th issue) so they hoped we enjoyed this “strange and beautiful” production, which I am sure many of the good readers of Tin House did, but this wasn’t all that entertaining for me and my particular sense of what I want to read.
To address the fiction:
Eric Puchner has a story in here called “Beautiful Monsters” which was an absolutely wonderful piece of work. I am sure I am way behind the youth today in almost everything but I interpreted this as a moving tale of growing old – kind of like how I am way behind the youth of today – nostalgia, sorrow and longing for home. In a land of children who never age, a giant, wounded refugee from the mountains shows up at a brother and sister’s house, where they let him in and try to understand what aging and being old is all about. I’m sure I am totally off on what Puchner is trying to get across but that’s what I got out of it, right or wrong.
Also worth serious mention is “The Little Kretschmar” by Quintan Ana Wikswo: a very sad story about a couple who have a baby that is not well. Not well at all.
I also really enjoyed “You Have a Friend in IOA” by Maggie Shipstead about a Hollywood “cult”.
The only other thing I found worth talking about were a couple of the book reviews. Albert Mobilio did a very well written review of sexual deviancy in Havelock Ellis‘ ” Studies in the Psychology of Sex” and Michelle Wildgen did a hilarious write up about Burt Reynolds‘ “Hot Line: The Letters I get… and Write!“. I have bought (and read) a lot of the books the Tin House contributors have put out there, but none of the four in this one really called my name.
So there the are – my thoughts on the 50th issue of Tin House. I already have the next one “Science Fair” sitting in my bookcase waiting for me but it’s just been hard to find the time to do some reading.