The Blog

L. Annette Binder's RISE

Anika Gupta

In this engaging debut collection of short stories, L. Annette Binder probes the psyches not of heroes, but of monsters, turning the lens of the fairy tale on itself. When I first read the list of story titles, heavy with allusions—Galatea, Nod—I was afraid of finding myself in the well-trod territory of the reinvented Grimm tale. But Binder’s collection is unusual in the way it straddles the divide between fairy tale and normal life. There is no magic, and there are no talking beasts. Instead, Binder's monsters are ordinary people marked by physical and mental deformities: freakish height, the ability to speak dead languages. For them, the realm of the fairy tale is a lonely, isolated one, an internal landscape of beauty set against a reality that is often twisted and bleak.

Winners of the 2013 Iowa Review Awards

TIR Staff

We're thrilled to announce the following winners and runners-up of the 2013 Iowa Review Awards. These stories, essays, poems, and photos will appear in our December 2013 issue. Thanks to all who entered, and thanks to our judges, Susan Orlean (nonfiction), Mary Jo Bang (poetry), ZZ Packer (fiction), and Alec Soth and Kathleen Edwards (photography). 



Winner: Laura Lynn Brown (left; Little Rock, AR), "Fifty Things about My Mother"
Runner-up: Meghan Flaherty, "Womb"

New issue of Anomalous + call for submissions

TIR staff

Our pals at Anomalous Press have just released their newest issue! It's available online, via, Kindle, as a PDF, and as an audiobook (!!).

They write:

We present to you Anomalous 9, and we hope that when you're finished, you might come back, or at least give us away. We want to be repossessed. We want to be the enigmatic jewels that thieves leave behind, like the re-painted myths and revolving language of retold histories. This issue is full of them. There are always more layers to peel, but you can start by looking under the sheets to find:


Jacqueline Kolosov

Possibility: Essays Against Despair, Patricia Vigderman's second book, shares affinities with her first, The Memory Palace of Isabella Stewart Gardner. Associative in nature, the essays assembled here cross genres, encompassing biography, memoir, art history, natural history, and film studies, to name just a few of the subjects that Vigderman brings into dialogue. In the introduction “Seeing Double,” Vigderman describes the evolution of the collection as follows:

Cold Bucolic Love: A Long Letter from Iceland—Bergsveinn Birgisson's A REPLY TO A LETTER FROM HELGA

Mike Broida

In the small slice of Nordic literature that’s recently made its way to America, it’s hard to find any that’s escaped the broad, posthumous influence of Stieg Larsson. For that alone, Bergsveinn Birgisson’s A Reply to a Letter from Helga, translated by Philip Roughton (AmazonCrossing, January 2013) is a noteworthy addition to the Anglophone lexicon, bringing with it a brief and vibrant tradition few readers this side of the Atlantic have ever considered.

Birgisson’s debut translation into English takes the form of the titular letter from an elderly Icelandic farmer writing to his old flame (the Helga), and it’s a form that works well to Birgisson’s intention. During the passionate and hearty yearnings by Bijarni (the farmer), you can almost feel the pen scratching the paper:


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