Friday Find: Short Fiction from Five Points

My most recent birthday is now several months in the past, but I’ve only recently dug into one of my gifts–a wonderful anthology signed by the editor and two contributors, sent to me by a practicing writer friend. The volume is titled High 5ive: An Anthology of Fiction from Ten Years of Five Points, and it has a lot to offer anyone who enjoys reading and/or writing short fiction.

Five Points has an excellent reputation–it’s the sort of journal I can’t imagine any emerging writer wouldn’t want to be published in. But I confess that I’ve refrained from submitting to date because of the journal’s pesky proclamation that it doesn’t want to see simultaneous submissions. (And while statistics on Duotrope, indicating an average response time of 62 days, could certainly be worse, two months is still not inconsiderable.)

But that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy the work that the magazine does publish. And while I wasn’t enthralled by every story in the book (to be perfectly honest, not every one held my attention), I admired a whole lot of them.

The 19 stories are divided among three categories: “Self,” “Family,” and “Others.” The ones I expect to remember longest include:

Nancy Reisman, “No Place More Beautiful”;
Leslie Epstein, “Malibu”;
Alice Elliott Dark, “Maniacs”;
Ann Hood, “The Language of Sorrow”;
Richard Bausch, “Riches”;
Frederick Busch, “Manhattans”; and
the extraordinary “Rowing to Darien,” by Pam Durban, a work of historical fiction based on the life of Fanny Kemble.

Several of these stories have been republished in their authors’ subsequent books. I enjoyed these stories and, I admit, I am trying to learn from them. I am trying to grasp how Hood crafted a perfect ending to her story. I am trying to understand how Busch evoked depression without once using the word (unless I missed it somewhere along the way). I am trying to learn from the distinctive dialogue and choice detail and titrated backstory here/there/everywhere.

Have any of you read this anthology? The stories I’ve mentioned? Any thoughts on/experiences with Five Points? Please comment!