One Blood: The Narrative Impulse
from Clockwatch Review: An Online Quarterly of Books
One Blood: The Narrative Impulse, AQR‘s glossy-covered companion to Intimate Voices, Ordinary Lives (1997), showcases a captivating assortment of first person narratives. According to AQR‘s executive and founding editor Ronald Spatz, the premise behind this latest special collection is the notion that an absence of genre allows “the primacy of narrative itself,” thereby amplifying the “truthfulness of the story.” Now in its 20th season, the Alaska Quarterly Review continues to devote its attention to this idea, to the essence of story, and thus continues, deservedly, to earn various literary awards.
In her compelling introduction, contributing editor Patricia Hampl explores the use of first person narration in literature and the element of trust involved between the reader and narrator. What follows is an extraordinary journey of voices, each possessing its own particular vitality, from candid tales of adolescence like Edra Ziesk’s “In Camp” to the mature and frustrated home health care worker struggling for control in Nicholas Montemarano’s “Shift.” Even in such a stellar collection, in which both veteran and novice writers impress, there are exceptional works such as Marie Sheppard William’s “The Book of Saints and Martyrs” and Stephen Graham Jones’s “Adultery: A Failing Sestina.”
While the narrative impulse “toward story” unites these 31 stories, excellence in storytelling technique is what defines and distinguishes this stunning collection. One Blood: The Narrative Impulse retails at a mere $6.95. Likewise, a subscription to AQR‘s consistently impressive biannual publication is $10.00, available from Alaska Quarterly Review, University of Alaska Anchorage, 3211 Providence Drive, Anchorage, AK 99508. Highly recommended.
— Chelle Miko
— Phoebe Kate Foster, PopMatters Associate Books Editor