George Estreich won the Oregon Book Award for narrative nonfiction in 2012, for his brilliant work, The Shape of the Eye. He had a chance to spend some time with our book and had this to say about the project and quality of writing. Thank you, George!
“The Masters Review is a welcome addition to the long list of American literary journals. For writers in M.F.A. programs–both traditional and low-residency–The Masters Review provides a place to submit and a possible showcase; for readers of literary fiction and nonfiction, the journal is a way to discover new writers. The prose, by turns quiet, experimental, and starkly honest, ranges widely in subject matter and style, but is always of high quality.”
Congratulations to our authors for continuing to knock the socks off of readers!
The Dog Stars by Peter Heller begins after a super-flu has wiped out nearly all of the world’s population. The novel follows Hig and his dog Jasper, who have taken refuge in a small airport hanger in the mountains, and Bangley, an army-type survivalist who has set up camp with enough weapons and ammunition to stave off bands of wanderers. Hig and Jasper fly the perimeter of camp in a 1956 Cessna, providing Heller with the perfect vessel for describing a world that is both lonely and scenic. When Hig receives a strange transmission over the plane’s radio, it triggers the possibility of hope, ultimately sending Hig on a flight past the point of no return.
I could not put this book down. It’s restrained, beautiful, heartfelt, and simply fantastic. It speaks to the human condition on a number of levels, examining survival, hope, love, and friendship with a deftness that is expertly applied. The prose of the book is terse, but fluid, and mimics the world Hig finds himself in: one that is starkly populated but beautifully wild. Outdoorsmen will find a great deal to appreciate in this book, as Heller’s background as a journalist for Outside magazine and National Geographic weaves in a true sense of adventure.
The beauty of Dog Stars resonates in a number of ways, but none more profoundly than the extreme care in which it was written and in the fantastic journey it offers readers.
As part of a new blog series, we’ll be doing book reviews on occasion. We will try to focus on new releases, debut authors, and independent publishers, giving special preference to debut authors. If you have a book you’d like to submit for review, please submit your query to: firstname.lastname@example.org. We will review both fiction and narrative nonfiction.
The day is finally here! To all of you who pre-ordered books, thank you for your support. All book orders have shipped out and are en route to their new homes. If you ordered a large quantity of books please be aware those have shipped media mail and may take longer than standard mailing. If you run into any issues with your order, please don’t hesitate to let us know and we’ll remedy the problem right away.
Thank you all for your patience and to Lauren Groff for all her help and support. Congratulations again to our wonderful authors. Without your stories we wouldn’t have such a lovely product.
Case in point regarding blogging. This is news we should have shared weeks ago. Tin House is perhaps one of the heaviest hitters when it comes to literary magazines. We’ve had a subscription for years and find them pretty much flawless and fantastic. So it goes without saying that we keep a close eye on their blog. Tin House does a weekly fiction competition called PLOTTO, based on the book “PLOTTO” by William Wallace Cook. The competition calls for a 500 word submission that is inspired by that week’s PLOTTO prompt.
We’re thrilled to announce that not only has one of our editors, Kim Winternheimer, been selected as a weekly winner but so has one of our Masters Review authors, Zana Previti. Big round of applause you two. Way to take over the world, one fiction prompt at a time.
Friends, we’ve been decidedly terrible about the blog. How bad, you ask? We don’t want to talk about it, but it’s a layered problem two parts difficulty in the way our site is hosted and one part asking our already overworked staff to do, yes, more work. So thank you for checking up on us and keeping us honest. Because you’re right, if you’re gong to have a blog link on your site then you gosh darn better blog. So we’re recommitting our time (read: our staff’s time) to more blog posts and tons of info. After all, isn’t talking about yourself supposed to be easy? In any case stay tuned for lots of fun musings and posts. It is summer after all, so there’s a lot to be excited about.
For instance, our summer workshop! If you haven’t signed up yet, please do so. It’s a great opportunity to work with editors in the field and to get your story polished enough for publication. It’s win-win, people. So register now!
We get this a lot. An author sends in a submission telling us they wrote their story in one night and that it’s genius and that they have no doubt we’ll love it. Surely a gifted writer or two has been struck by gold and churned out a decent first draft in just one night, but people, this is not something we want to hear. Writing takes time, revision, careful analysis, and editing. It isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon. Respect the process and work on your craft. It isn’t like baking cookies.
With that said we thought we’d post this little fun fact from an old favorite: Dr. Suess. When asked how long it took him to write The Cat in the Hat, the good doctor said he expected it to take him a week or so. He ended up working on it for a year and a half. A YEAR AND A HALF!
Just a little something to keep in mind. Simple isn’t easy and that certainly applies to writing as well.
Our judge this year is the lovely and talented, Lauren Groff. Her third book, Arcadia, hit shelves today. Richard Russo, Pulitzer prize-winning author of Empire Falls, had this to say about her book, “Richly peopled and ambitious and oh, so lovely, Lauren Groff’s Arcadia is one of the most moving and satisfying novels I’ve read in a long time. It’s not possible to write any better without showing off.”
Congratulations to Lauren on what we’re sure is going to be a shining success.
Big Think posted an article today posing the question: Is Holden Caulfield Obnoxious? Stating, “Either you found him a kindred spirit in your youth and continue to sympathize with him–less blindly, more wistfully–as you age; or else you found him a whiner then and you find him a whiner now.”
I only bring this up because I’ve had this exact thought several times in my adulthood but never had the time to flush it out and certainly never had the time to write an article about it. So now that Big Think has done it for me I get to expound.
When I read Catcher in The Rye in high school I thought it was Ah-mazing. The words, “best book ever” may have even left my lips. So when I picked it back up as senior in college during a phase where I wanted to re-read books that I loved, I was horrified to find Holden an obnoxious, incessant whiner. So much so I discontinued my re-reading of books that I loved for fear I would end up hating more of them. Anyway, the point is this: where you are in your life can have a great impact on how you interact with a book, movie, or even, how you might vote. In this case, I lost my somewhat unfounded crush on Holden. Yet, I didn’t lose my appreciation for how Salinger portrayed him. He is still just as complex as he ever was and his complexity serves to drive the story. The Big Think article points out many great details regarding Holden and I’d recommend anyone who is a fan to enjoy the read. However, it did get me thinking about other books that, as I age, I’ve lost a little puppy love for. For example, I loved Kerouac’s On The Road the first time I read it. I still love it today, but for different reasons. In my youth I was convinced I needed to live my life with as much passion and reckless abandon as his characters. Their freedom scared and inspired me. And now? Now, Dean’s still as good looking as I imagined as a teen, and I’d let him buy me a drink in a bar, but at 11pm when my eyelids got heavy and he started musing about a drive to San Franciso, I’d run (not walk) in the other direction.
At The Masters Review, our mission is to support emerging writers. We only accept submissions from writers who can benefit from a larger platform. Typically, writers without published novels or story collections or with low circulation. We publish fiction and nonfiction online year round and put out an annual anthology of the ten best emerging writers in the country, judged by an expert in the field. We publish articles and book reviews on the blog and hold workshops that connect emerging and established writers.