Over at The Rumpus, Nancy Smith reviews the Ploughshares issue that Jim edited. This is what she has to say:
“In his introduction to the issue, guest editor Jim Shepard says, “I’ve been drawn to protagonists who are geniuses at knitting together self-indictment and self-exoneration in ways that are both unconscious and calculated. Protagonists who leave us to sort through what they’ve figured out, what they can’t figure out, and what they won’t try to figure out about themselves.” In some ways, this neatly sums up the characters in this issue of Ploughshares; they are all characters who are stuck deep in the space of figuring things out. Lucky for us, it’s a complicated space, and an ideal place for a story to unfold.
This issue is devoted entirely to fiction, and there are nine cohesive stories included here. Each story is strong, and it’s clear that Shepard has meticulously curated this issue…
One of the best things about Ploughshares tradition of having guest-editors is that each issue feels like a fully realized collection. Many literary magazines feel disconnected; as if the editor gathered up all of the best submissions they received and stuck them into one edition. It’s a pleasure to read a literary magazine that feels so thoughtfully planned. Not only are the stories in this issue thematically linked, but the order in which they are placed invites us to make connections that we might not have otherwise seen.
Shepard has pulled together nine stories that, in one way or another, show us a world full of people who are still figuring things out, who are not quite sure of their place in the world, and who ultimately want to figure it out. Perhaps it’s that small sense of hope that gives the collection its cohesiveness. If nothing else, it gives us a beautiful set of stories that challenges our sense of self and reinforces the uncertainty inherent in all our lives.”
Click here to read the full review.