Prairie Fire 130

Prairie Fire 130 - Andris Taskans, David Bergen Over the past couple of years my standard response to most literary journals is that while the overall quality of the writing is quite good, only two stories (commonly the first two) are really worth reading. The problem is not only in the stories themselves, but in that there is usually a tiring sameness to the stories collected in any given journal, so that a story that might be more appealing amid a wider ranging collection, can never gain any form of autonomy amid its kin. Imagine painting a blue tree on a blue wall: the shades might be different but the overall effect is not terribly distinct. This particular issue of Prairie Fire is an exception to the trend, and while the first two stories were clearly the strongest of the bunch, others proved more enjoyable than I'd anticipated.

There are similarities between some of the stories: two feature decapitations, two have young narrators, two have doctors, two have chickens... Truth be told there is more diversity in content than is usual, and this was refreshing. I have many partially-completed journals, both literary & genre, lying about my study & bedroom, so that completing any one feels like a rare accomplishment. Sure there were the standard thematic elements, but the idea is to produce common ideas (for what ideas are truly original?) in less than common form of expression, whether an interesting story-line, creative structure, good humour or interesting characters. This issue was a breeze to read; there was only one story I didn't care for and couldn't finish in a single sitting.

The three stories of note are David Bergen's Excellent "Søren and Regine," "Mazing Grace" by Michael Van Rooy, and the brief piece of fiction "Shelterbelt" by Amber Hayward.

For my full-length review, please visit Casual Debris