VIRGIN FICTION by Alexander Ralph


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The first collection of short fiction in a projected annual series culled from a contest sponsored by the online magazine Salon. The authors are 20 writers under 35 who are —virgins— to book or magazine publishing. Standouts include Myla Goldberg’s inventively Barthelmesque “Comprehension Test,” in which a simple test for what you retain from your reading takes an unforeseeable and heartbreaking turn into violence. Also very fine is Tony Carbone’s riotous —the end of the beltline,— a dadaist pastiche that hairpins from self-help satire into the parodic cockroach ghastlies of Naked Lunch, though without the drugs--a story no commercial magazine would think of publishing. Alexander Ralph’s “Trout Lake” really is about a boy’s virginity. And Amy Boaz’s “Waiting for John Cheever” leapfrogs through time while telling with winning realism of the sundry adulteries accommodated by the Long Island Express train. One of the better ideas to hit paperback publishing in a long time. The shining hook is that readers who are struggling writers under 35 are invited to submit their own fiction for future issues—no agent needed.

Pub Date: June 10th, 1998
ISBN: 0-688-16081-6
Page count: 432pp
Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1st, 1998


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