Chicago Review

An international journal of literature, interviews, and reviews. For academic audiences.

Articles from Vol. 41, No. 2-3, Spring-Summer

Best Boy
What will Adam do when he sees the old man, whose voice on the phone bore his prognosis like a B-rated movie? What will he say for himself if the old man asks him probing questions in his raspy voice thick with pain? How can he explain his project, conceived...
Big Ruthie Imagines Sex without Pain
She imagines it the way she tries to reconstruct dreams, really reconstruct. Or builds an image while she is praying. She imagines a blue castle somewhere on high, many steps, a private room, fur rag, long mattress, white stucco walls, tiny windows....
Blues
I am lazy, the laziest girl in the world. I sleep during the day when I want to, 'til my face is creased and swollen, 'til my lips are dry and hot. I eat as I please: cookies and milk after lunch, butter and sour cream on my baked potato, foods that...
Cherchez la Femme
The words in my dreams purify slowly but I filter them like grace before every meal, like the Lord's prayer, I repeat them before bed, they guide me to do what I must. I have been trying to call her for months, her boyfriend answers, and I'd rather not...
Housesitting the Wild Side
I used to pal around with Nelson Algren, Chicago's number-one writer at that time, the late 1950s. When we were in town - on drives in from DeKalb, where I was teaching at a university set among corn fields - my first wife and I would drop by his apartment...
Instructions for Living
You will never know enough. You will never know when to stop. One day you'll wake mid-afternoon distant from yourself as if some switch has occurred in the nouns of the summer novel of your life. You've become a log hauled from the brawling surf, no,...
Liberator
My father was a liberator. I don't know when I first knew that. It's one of those things you know before you know what it means: My father was a liberator. When he was a young man, a son, before he became a husband, father, owner of a Texas delicatessen,...
Mangoes on Azalea
Mrs. Shozz is a God-fearing woman with a bad haircut. She didn't hire me for my inner beauty. I think she felt sorry for me, for my type, my caste. She has lived here for twenty years, yet all the old-world moral eyebrows still twitch for her. Brahmins...
Real America: An Interview with Charles Simic
Charles Simic was born in Yugoslavia and came to the U.S. in 1954, when he was sixteen. He went to high school in Oak Park, Illinois, and attended the University of Chicago at night while working by day at the Chicago Sun-Times. His poetry has been...
Revelation
So no one would dispute him, Joe said "historically" empires have collapsed, folded, fallen, in other words ceased to exist entirely at the precise moment homosexuals walked openly in the public domain. You mean, I said, that Gregg and Rick discussing...
The Other August
"The useless objectivity of things." - Jean Baudrillard I It wasn't kindness, no. More a contempt so all-encompassing it needn't deign to cruelty, word with no memory of a world. It gave this site to me, sheer Saturday where noon singed the pulp of...
The Outback
All day I try to shake off thoughts that at night I lose in the place where I have what I want: the unconscious. But that continent where all that's happened or been thought is happening - everything but ordinary thinking, daily facts - may be more of...
The Yeast of Chaos: An Interview with Leon Forrest
Leon Forrest, a lifelong Chicagoan, studied at the University of Chicago from 1958 to 1960 and again from 1963 to 1964. He is a novelist and a playwright who has also worked as a journalist and an editor and has taught at Yale University, Wesleyan,...
Transcript of the Suspect's Statement
If you'll just let me tell you, without any more of your ignorant questions, I will explain. I have nothing to hide from the likes of you. To answer the first question you asked me: we were journeying here. To our goal here in the city, through countryside...
Vespers
Every summer until I was twelve, I went with my family to Olivet, a Presbyterian camp on Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. All the people there I called "Auntie," "Uncle," or "Cousin." I thought all of them were my father's relatives, since I knew he was born...
Voodoo Sonata
Jane sat on a straight-back chair in a row of other straight-back chairs in Sula Bookbinder's living-dining room. Up front, dwarfed by the grand piano, a tiny blond girl in round wire-rimmed glasses played the melody from "Ode to Joy." She played slowly,...
Waiting Table
For Lucy, Sarah, and Ben I Love to you all. I haven't been home in a long time. I have good news. After looking for months, I finally found work At Nirvana. It is good work. I have many duties. II With an ocher plastic ewer I water The green vines...
What Are Islands to Me Now
For Barbara Guest I carved wood, bronzes, tracings ice crystals leave on the windowpane; coat it with paraffin, then scratch whatever you like into the wax, the design can be quite delicate; the acid bath - careful, the least splash will burn your...

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