Tin House Spring 2011 – A Review

I thought this issue of Tin House was a bit more hit and miss, especially with the fiction, but it still had some good moments. The them was The Mysterious and most of the essays delved into either crime fiction, or true crime. Unfortunately, I’m not a huge mystery fan. Sarah Winman’s overview of domestic thrillers was quite good and has given me an interest in reading some of the authors she mentioned, some of published 100 years ago. Eddie Muller’s call for a new noir was interesting, since he said stop imitating the 40’s and write for today. It was refreshing since noir for most people is 19401-1959. It was even more interesting coming from a guy who hosts noir festivals (I’ve been to 3 of his). I can’t agree, though, that Mulholland Drive is that interesting a movie. I was intrigued by Paul Collins history of the Murder Off Miami (A Murder Mystery)
book/game and its approach to story telling through artifacts, something that has been over done since.

The only fiction I thought was really interesting was Luis Alberto Urrea’s story Chametla that envisions memories as physical objects  that have their own life after one dies. It was perfectly brief and understated. Maurice Pons’ story had that refreshing element that I often found in European short stories: it doesn’t tell you what to think at the end, in other words, there was no epiphany. And like the Urrea, had the virtue of leaving many questions unanswered in the central mystery of the story. Kenneth Calhoun’s piece was also quite good and used language in a refreshing way, starting each paragraph with Then, until the build up of conflicting events actually leads the reader to what has happened.

This issue wasn’t as good as the last one I read, but it still had its moments.