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September 23, 1987 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1987-09-23

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Page 8 -The Michigan Daily-Wednesday, September 23, 1987
uarterly'reviews contemporary iction

By Lisa Magnino
"Granted that contemporary Am-
erican fiction is a variety of things,
what kind of recent writing interests
you especially, and, in your opinion,
is most deserving of more attention
and more readers?" This is the
question posed to forty-nine writers
by the Michigan Quarterly Review
in its Fall 1987 issue.
English professor and ten-year
MQR editor Laurence Goldstein
explains, "There's a perennial
interest in contemporary American

fiction. We thought this would be a
good time to take the temperature of
the writers - what's on their minds,
what kinds of issues interest them."
Responses ranged from terse and
negative to lengthy and positive.
Asa Barber, a participating writer,
blasts the publishing business -
"'It's showtime, folks!' might be
publishing's trademark" - and
describes current writing as
"McDonald's Fiction ... fiction that
sells, not fiction that illuminates."
However, Raymond Carver,
renowned poet and author, lauds at
least one genre of contemporary

fiction. "Has there ever been a time
like the present for short story
writers? To my mind, perhaps the
best - certainly the most variously
interesting and satisfying work -
even, just possibly, the work that
has the greatest chance of enduring,
is being done in the short story. The
current profusion in the writing and
publishing of short stories is ... the
most eventful literary phenomenon
of our time."
These conflicting views of the
contemporary scene were n o t
unexpected, according to Goldstein.
"The last thing we wanted was for

this issue to present one point of
view and call it our own. We wanted
to provide a forum for all sorts of
competing points of view to give a
more accurate depiction of what's
going on."
The contemporary theme of the
issue continues outside of this
symposium of authors. Scott
Russell Sanders in his essay,
"Speaking a Word for Nature,"
explains the lack of nature in
contemporary fiction: "That a deep
awareness of nature has been largely
excluded from 'mainstream' fiction
is a measure of the narrowing and

trivialization of that fashionable
Constance Pierce, in her related
essay, "Contemporary Fiction and
Popular Culture," depicts what has
replaced nature in current fiction -
popular culture: "Contemporary
readers are a weary lot, fatigued with
high art and the timeless aims of so
much Modernism, suspicious that
many writers are 'out of it' - that
is to say, out of the mass trends that
infuse most of American life.
Immediately recognizable pop
references provide a way for writers
to declare contemporaneity, to
announce that they are not-Modern."
This look at contemporary fiction
will continue in the Review's

Winter issue, which will hit the
bookstores in January. Goldstein
hopes that this series will be read by
students who ' take an interest in
literary trends and that this will lean,
to a recurring student audience for
the Review. "It's a journal not
specialized at all in its audience. It's,
a general interest journal, inter-#
disciplinary and aimed for the
common reader. This would certainly,
include students, faculty, and the
Judging by the strength of this
issue, the Michigan Quarterly
Review deserves attention and a large
audience. Look for the current issue
in local newstands and bookstores.

Let Them Know
How You Feel! !
An Information Desk will be staffed
in the North Lobby of the
Graduate Library for the
first five days of classes
(Sept. 10-11, 14-16) .
from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Tours of the Library will extend from
September 14-25 at 11:00 a.m., 1:00 p.m.,
and 3:00 p.m. each weekday.
Sign-up for all tours will be at the
Circulation Desk in the North Lobby



(Coninued from Pagel7)

Inca Babies
Opium Den
Black Lagoon Records
They're a little bit country,
they're a little bit rock-and-roll, and
they're a lot of bit fantastic. Inca
Babies have found, in some twisted
sort of way, their own musical niche
and have crawled inside to fester and
metamorphosize into a sensational
band which has yet to receive the
praise they deserve.
With the release of Opium Den,
their third album, Inca Babies have
realized their true harsh, wild west
musical potential and present it in a
powerful and extremely pleasing
way. Their influences are easy to

uncover. Music such as that by The
Beasts of Bourbon, The Gun Club,
and The Birthday Party shows true
on nearly all of the songs on this
album, yet, as if by magic, the
Babies refuse to sacrifice an ounce of
The best of the record is a song
called "Thirst," a varying tempo of a
song that cuts completely through
musical nonsense and heads straight
for the soul. With their skin-shaving
guitar, token jungle-like drums, and
lyrics such as "Well I dig my head
into the dirt/ And slowly try to
forget this thirst," this song, like the
album, is sure to be a big hit.
-Robert Flaggert
See RECORDS Page 9


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