LitMag Volume 1 Issue 1 Spring 2017 Review

LitMag Volume 1 Issue 1, Spring 2017

The inaugural issue of LitMag in Spring 2017 had peaks and valleys. Some of these stories, such as “David & Osi,” exemplify literary fiction at its best. “The Word is the Word, by Elvis Bego, meanwhile, felt formulaic and allegorical. All of them, even Bego’s piece, spanned a variety of different genres, page lengths, and writing styles. For a first issue, it certainly hit par at the very least. For literary magazine reviews, Indescribe will only review the fiction pieces, so the magazine’s star rating reflects only this aspect of the greater whole.

Great for Seasoned Readers and Imposing for Novices

The magazine looks and feels very similar to Tin House. LitMag’s story to poetry to nonfiction ratio makes it most attractive to fiction readers. Unlike The Southern Review or Salmagundi, LitMag pushes fiction first.

In this issue, it carried 9 short stories—far above most literary magazines like it.

Although this issue left a little to be wanted, the style, aesthetic, and direction of the magazine seem to be sound. Seasoned literary magazine subscribers will certainly enjoy adding this to their list. If a novice, consider looking at Tin House before moving to LitMag as this issue required more patience and a willingness to experience high highs and low lows.

The Short Stories in LitMag Spring 2017

“The Word is the Word” by Elvis Bego

To read the full review, click here.

“City of Trees” by Kevin Moffett

This three-page story follows the father of a young child who pushes against the culture of his neighborhood. Any person who struggles with pretentious neighbors or hates their HOA will find a lot in common with this protagonist. 2 Stars

“Bad Girl” by Valerie O’Riordan

To read the full review, click here.

“David & Osi” by Chinelo Okparanta

To read the full review, click here.

“In the Park” by Christine Sneed

A modernized, epistolary short story. Christine Sneed’s use of email creates a tough, one-way conversation from a wife to her ex-husband. might be a little crazy. She reaches out to her husband over and over again—often talking about trivial or strange parts of their relationship. As the emails progress,’s writing shows a woman in a one-way marriage. She still loves her husband intensely, but her husband has left her and cut off all communication. The story’s structure and delivery method make this an interesting read. The content lacked a little bit as some of the character’s ramblings felt a bit unrealistic. 3 Stars

“Demimonde” by Bett Pesetsky

Demimonde is a story about a young girl going into town with a grandmother intent of seeking revenge against Mrs. Ornett for something. Due to its brevity (2 pages), the reader won’t find out exactly what the Grandmother wants from this mystery woman or why. The story instead focuses on the Grandmother’s pursuit and the narrator’s confusion. Although interesting, this felt more like a snapshot and less like an actual story. 2 Stars

“Hand and Foot” by Bethany Edstrom

A man works as an unlicensed animal removal expert in “Hand and Foot,” creating an intriguing premise from the outset. Flynn needs any work he can get—his past history keeping him out of the more standard lines of work. As the story moves forward, the reader learns that Flynn has also been kicked out of his local Tae Kwon Do dojang. The Master of his dojang covered for him, keeping him out of trouble with the law, but he also received a ban from getting near the premises. The story’s tension stems from trying to figure out Flynn’s past, how he got kicked out of the dojang, and why his once Master has “excommunicated” him. This story packs a punch (sorry had to do it!). It’s creative and it focuses on two worlds (animal removal and Tae Kwon Do) that normally don’t receive much literary attention. 4 Stars

“For the Love of Broken Things” by Marc Watkins

A silly story. Unlike “The Word is the Word,” this story accepts its absurdity and pushes the boundaries of humor and ridiculousness. Although probably classified as a slipstream piece, the story has a satirical edge that belittles the characters throughout. Ambrose, a dumb, small-town man believes he has impregnated his pocket pussy. He takes this news very seriously, treating his pocket pussy like a girlfriend. He contemplates abortion or marrying his love. The narrator, a woman from town who moved to a big city, plays along with Ambrose, rather than trying to fight him on his convictions. She has struggled to have children herself and by the story’s end, agrees to take the pocket pussy baby into her care. Although strange, the story offered funny moments and provided a page-turning narrative. 4 Stars

“All the Bells” by Emily Saso

“All the Bells” offers a much more traditional short story as it follows a young girl coming to grips with her sexuality, problematized by her best friend Olivia’s realization that she loves her. The girls get split up when they start attending high school and they stay in contact with each other, making up stories about their exploits. The narrator writes about her fake boyfriend, giving juicy, made-up details to Olivia. When the narrator discovers that Olivia has a crush on her, she continues the made-up boyfriend charade. One day, they decide to meet after a long hiatus. The narrator knows her best friend loves her, causing an uncomfortable tension between them that ends with a frustrating and difficult finish. Many readers will struggle with the narrator by the story’s end, a sign that she’s been well rendered and feels very much real on the page. 3 Stars

LitMag Spring 2017 Book Cover LitMag Spring 2017
Volume 1 Issue 1
Marc Berley (editor)
Literary Magazine
LitMag Press LLC
Spring 2017

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