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Where the Road Bottoms Out – Victoria Redel

Victoria Redel was a frequent 1/4erly contributor, Lish student, and amazing craftswoman of the sentence…there seems to be this little cabal she, Dawn Raffel, Christine Schutt and Noy Holland created toward the last years of Lish’s reign as Captain Fiction.

Nine of the 16 stories in this volume were originally published in the 1/4erly, two others in the Lish-quest edited issues of The Antioch Review and The Alaska Quarterly Review, one in Missouri Review, four original.

Like many Lish writers, and Lish himself, many of the stories center on the family: interactions of small children with parents and grandparents, of grown children with elderly parents.

Here are a trio of first sentences that show what kind of writer Redel is:

It is a mean thing, I know, to tell my mother to think about the pigeoned-in foot that drags on in the street between us. (title story)

They would bury all of her if she let them, and she has let them on days when the sand is permissibly warm and it feels to her like it could do her some good. (” Day in the Park”)

I laid down in the middle, in the crack between their pushed-together beds. (“Soul to Take”)

Redel’s next book, which we will discuss later, called Loverboy, although published by Graywolf Press, has Lish’s influence and maybe editing all over it. She has also come out with two books of poems.  Her latest, The Border of Truth, has a more maximalist feel to it.

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