McSweeney's 15

Dave Eggers (editor)

McSweeney's Quarterly Concern 2004
A book review by Danny Yee © 2005
I bought this issue of McSweeney's for the half of it that is devoted to contemporary Icelandic fiction. The longest piece here is a first person story of childhood by Einar Már Gudmundsson. Other long pieces range from a tale of rural life towards the end of the 19th century to a psychological study of closeted homosexual love in Reykjavik and a light-hearted science fiction story. There are also half a dozen shorter pieces, and a brief introduction to Iceland's book culture.

The other half of this issue offers what is presumably McSweeney's standard short fiction fare. The pieces given lead position and mentioned in the blurb are by Steven Millhauser (a fantastic biography of an imagined 19th century inventor and cinema precursor) and Roddy Doyle (a story about a migrant in Ireland). The other long contributions are a piece by Kiara Brinkman about a caregiver and an autistic child and a comic piece by Judy Budnitz which surreally mixes a teenager growing up, objectionable salesmen, and a post-nuclear apocalypse. Again, there are half a dozen shorter pieces.

Offering great reading in a simple but attractive hardcover volume, I can see why McSweeney's works as a quarterly.

October 2005

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%T McSweeney's 15
%E Eggers, Dave
%I McSweeney's Quarterly Concern
%D 2004
%O hardcover
%G ISBN 1932416145
%P 303pp