That’s right! You can now buy The Masters Review Volume VIII on Amazon! To celebrate, we’re sharing Kate Bernheimer’s wonderful introduction to our eighth volume with you all today. And be sure to get your submissions in to our ninth volume, which is only open for another twelve days!
Get your copy of The Masters Review Volume VIII from Amazon today! And don’t forgot to submit to our ninth volume, judged by Rick Bass: just under two weeks remain! Full details can be found here.
The Masters Review is a publication that relishes the fine art of writing in which we encounter form, technique, and story handled with dexterity, handled with grace. I appreciated all of the manuscripts sent to me for consideration by The Masters Review because I trust the editors to be very fine readers of craft. We know we are in the company of excellent readers when we pick up a copy of The Masters Review. Its editors and editorial staff work painstakingly to find beautifully and bravely written work whose authors respect the tradition and future of that mysterious technology still known to us as “writing.” So I knew I could read the wonderful packet of manuscripts sent to me to consider for this special volume not as a writer scrutinizing technique, but as I prefer to read stories: simply to read them.
I don’t drive like an engineer, eat cake like a baker, or go to the Egypt Room at the Met like a sarcographer. And most of the time, I read like a reader. When I am on the city bus, in a hospital waiting room, or at a diner, I read. I pass the time in company with someone I never have met, who has considered questions and situations I like to consider or never have considered. I read to enter humanity’s big questions, to marvel at somebody else’s way of understanding the world, to feel less alone. Even (gasp!) to be entertained. Who was it who said there is no such thing as guilty pleasure reading, there is only reading? It may have been me who said this, in a class recently, but I’m uncertain of this! In any case, I agree.
Of course, as a practitioner of an art form—storytelling—I read widely and often. I appreciate well-timed paragraph breaks, parallel sentence structure, and surprising word choices. I adore how duration and interiority can operate so variously depending on who’s done the writing that’s printed in font inside of the book that I hold. But that’s not how I read when I read as a reader. I read to read. I read for inspiration as a reader most of all, not for inspiration as a writer. I am a reader first. I read out of curiosity about my fellow human, who has imagined a difficult or beautiful or beautifully difficult world. I read to know what is possible, impossible, true.
And so the ten stories in this volume have been selected for publication because I loved reading them. They kept me good company. I think you will love reading them too. These are stories about people engaged in struggles and triumphs that are in turn surprising and familiar, in turn sad and sweet, in turn funny and grave. A lot of emotions you have had or wondered about, you will find in these pages. I was really impressed by the whole packet of stories sent to me by The Master Review, and there wasn’t a story in the entire packet that I didn’t read and feel something about as I read. These are the stories that drew me most to re-read them, and this is why they appear in the book.
Because when you read, you begin at the title, I want to list in alphabetical order each title that caught my attention immediately, and made me want to read the story’s first sentence, and then the next, and the next, and the next . . . these are the words that began my journey as a reader through these stories. Relish this series: “American Crusader,” “An English Woman and an Arab Man Walk into a Bar,” “Chlorine,” “Electric Guests,” “Face to Face,” “Fear,” “June,” “Lida,” “Paper Boats,” “Quiet Guest.” These words, in the words of one of their authors, “release their heedless fragrance into the perilous air.” Perilous air! The air of a story, the air that we breathe.
Congratulations to the writers, and welcome, readers.