Adam Padgett’s story, “Useful Things,” is this year’s winner of the Ron Rash Award in fiction, an annual contest held by the Broad River Review. Congratulations, Adam!
The Conium Review: Volume 3 is available for purchase! Support small press publishing, and get a copy directly through our website. The issue is available as a paperback, and we also have a snazzy collector’s edition box set for sale.
Copies hit brick-and-mortar bookstore shelves in the next couple days (or weeks, in some cases).Past publications have been stocked at the Big Idea Bookstore Cooperative (Pittsburgh, PA), Broadway Books (Portland, OR), Reading Frenzy (Portland, OR), Housing Works Bookstore Care (New York, NY), Quimby’s Bookstore (Chicago, IL), Open Books (Chicago, IL), and Woodland Pattern Book Center (Milwaukee, WI). This issue will appear at many of our usual bookstore partners, and we hope to expand to other independent bookstore locations very soon.
For cash-strapped lit lovers, Vol. 3 will also be available at several libraries, including the Mellow Pages Library (Brooklyn, NY), the University of Wisconsin Memorial Library (Madison, WI), the Library of Congress (Washington, DC) ,and elsewhere.
This volume of The Conium Review features new fiction from Olivia Ciacci, Tom Howard, D. V. Klenak, Jan LaPerle, Zach Powers, Christine Texeira, and Meeah Williams. In these eight strange and surreal narratives, you’ll find a company that sells night-in-shining-armor-style happy endings, a boy with a second person trapped inside of him, a contemporary fable with a chickadee protagonist, and more. The pieces include flash fiction, short stories, and novella-length fiction.
Glossolalia: New & Selected Stories
Written by David Jauss
Press 53, 2013
With prose that is precise and devastating, David Jauss presents seventeen new and selected stories about the resilience of people as they are dragged through the rough of isolation: isolation from God; isolation from love; from community. And in that isolation is discovery. Jauss builds and cultivates these immensely complex characters while never abandoning them completely. It seems to me that Glossolalia asks the question: what keeps these characters moving after taking nearly everything away?
In the last twelve months, I have not read many new short story collections. Novels seem to have taken over my bookshelf, and so consequently, I really forgot why I fell in love with the short form those years ago. It was the surprises, the gut-punch that you never saw coming and left you forgetting how to breathe, only to start the next gut-punch pages later. Stories that ended far sooner than you wish they had, and Glossolalia lands every blow with stories that challenge the form, stretch the narrative bounds, while also committing to honest and more traditional storytelling.
David Jauss has no limitations. “Apotheosis” is a story written in letter-form, by Friar Miguel Sabogal during the Spanish Inquisition, pleading his innocence on the charge of being a heretic. In the letter, the friar recounts his story about torture and the fragility of the spirit as it is reduced to its fewest possible components. “The Bigs” is a story about a baseball player from the Dominican Republic playing for a Double A team. The story is written in first person and in a dialect that lends such authenticity to the narrative voice that the reader can nearly hear it. The title story, “Glossolalia,” is a much more straightforward narrative that shows what happens when a boy’s father has a complete mental breakdown. Jauss’ great attention to nuance is what really sells these stories: the nuance of voice, the nuance of character. Young fiction writers should read this collection and learn from one of the truly great masters of the form, and the casual reader should simply allow these stories to blow them away.
There seems to be a reoccurring theme throughout the collection of bad fathers, broken fathers. Stories about fatherly faith gained and lost and then found again. What Jauss achieves with this collection is a brutal realism, the hard callous that insulates us within our darkest dreams and our deepest regrets. But ultimately these stories remind the reader of the amazing resilience of people, of how “a life could break so utterly, then mend itself.”
Review by Adam Padgett
Hillary Leftwich lives in Denver, CO. She holds an MA in Creative Writing from Regis University, and she’s co-founder of the “Denver Shitty Writers” group. She was recently interviewed by The Missouri Review for their “Working Writer Series.” You can follow her on Twitter or read her WordPress blog.
Adam Padgett was a contributor to The Conium Review‘s Spring 2013 issue. His fiction has also appeared in Appalachian Heritage, Santa Clara Review, Cold Mountain Review, SmokeLong Quarterly, and elsewhere. He is a mentor for PEN America’s Prison Writing Program, and he teaches writing at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. You can follow Adam on Twitter.
The Pushcart nomination process ended over the weekend, and we’ve mailed our contenders out. The Conium Review‘s nominees for 2014 are:
- “A Kidnapping and a Church Van,” by Adam Padgett (fiction, Spring 2013)
- “Of Course I Will Return It,” by Shellie Zacharia (fiction, Spring 2013)
- “Orgasm,” by Robert Dart (fiction, Spring 2013)
- “Sonora,” by Natalie Peeterse (poetry, Fall 2013)