cover image American Fiction, Volume Seven

American Fiction, Volume Seven

Alan Davis. New Rivers Press, $18.95 (316pp) ISBN 978-0-89823-164-9

Davis, White and guest judge Tim O'Brien have pulled together 20 excellent writers. Some have had a novel published, or a story in a literary journal, but with the possible exceptions of Josip Novakovich and Pamela Erbe, these are not widely recognizable names. A few stories are particularly worthy of note, especially ""Polraiyuk,"" Karin Ciholas's story of an Eskimo tribe and its battle with a killer whale. Ciholas's voice is strong, fresh, scattered with gentle irony. (""We had to smile when [the Chukchi] started their chant just as the official from fish and wildlife started to speak. We buried the pile of leaflets he handed out with Naulak. They kill trees in the South to preach conservation."") Then there's A. Manette Ansay's ""July,"" a vividly written description of one woman's empowerment. (""One bloody knuckle peeked over the horizon and the flooded fields took up the color until the land around the house burned wild fire""). And ""Maria"" by Kathleen George manages to be moving and nostalgic while maintaining a hard edge. Readers looking for good writing and a taste of the future could do far worse. (Mar.)