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Foreword Hot love, forbidden love, weird love, love to slake the thirst of the emotionaUy parched—we did not plan it this way, but this issue is as thick with dangerous love as an eighteenth-century epistolary novel. Dangerous love and just plain danger, Uke a Kansas twister coming across the back forty, maybe toward your house. PuUtzer Prize winner Robert Olen Butler's upcoming novel They Whisper is a fearless, exhilirating anatomy of one man's love Ufe. Tormented by a disastrous marriage, Butler's character seeks some pattern of meaning in his complete erotic history, beginning with childhood. Our preview selection from They Whisper occurs in Vietnam, where the protagonist unexpectedly finds a soul mate. Barbara PhiUips' "Selwyn on Winged Feet" is a tale of romance on the run, in which a middleaged jogger whose Ufe has faUen apart makes the tenuous first steps toward forming a new relationship. Mameve Medwed's younger heroine in "MaU" is bothered to death by her dear mother to find a husband, until finaUy she obUges and marries a genial professor, who turns out to be one of those merry academic feUows who discards wives Uke dixie cups with the passing semesters. But now she's off the rebound and finding a more faithful kind of male, who visits her every day, through all kinds of weather. Kevin Canty's teenaged "Blue Boy" each day endures the spectacle of bathing suits in his job as a Ufe guard at the country club, until he fixates on someone who makes no sense at aU as an object of his desire—or does she? Laura Hendrie's characters in "Arroyo" are even younger, a brother and sister Uving in the West whose violent father dies, leaving them with untamed horses and uncontroUable emotions, in a landscape as stormy as the moorlands of Wuthering Heights. EUen Akins' "Loosestrife" is a wonderfuUy resonant Uttle story about another aspect of untamed nature—the wildness of happenstance in the world, the chastening uncertainties that sprout up Uke pestilential weeds in the gardens of our carefully constructed opinions. As our interview of him shows, Mario Vargas Llosa may be too plain speaking for poUtics. After losing the Peruvian presidential election in in a run-off in 1990, Llosa discovered that "real poUtics requires mastering of technique, exactly Uke writing a novel, no? Also a real vocation, an appetite for power that I never had, reaUy." But the author of The Time of the Hero, The War at the End of the World, Conversation in the Cathedral, among others, is one of the best "old-fashioned" noveUsts in the Americas, and in this interview he discusses his evolving attitude, something of how he works, and his ongoing concern for the tumult in Peru. Our poetry includes some exciting new translations of poems by another South American usuaUy better remembered for his fiction—Jorge Luis Borges. In his poems as weU as his stories, Borges is the master of expanded time, where everything that happened, everything that could have happened, and everything that might happen, surrounds the meditator with an unstable, at once marvelous and ominous, abundance. There's plenty of ominousness in the poetry of Laura Kasischke, as weU—particularly the risks and vicissitudes of young love. "Lightning strikes me as similar to love," she says. Betsy ShoU's poems share with Kasischke's a sense that the world is hazardous, and she copes with aU the losses in her Ufe by looking back and trying to reconnect to the past, seeing herself as supported rather than threatened by her commonaUty with the women who went before her. AUson Cadbury's fine essay "The Poloneza" focusses on another woman and her family, an uprooted Pole Uving on an island in Greece. This issue's history as Uterature selection concerns one person's experience ofthe definitive breakdown ofworld order in the twentieth century. It is a selection from the World War I diary of Charles Ponton. Ponton, a teacher in the Commercial Department of Kalamazoo High School, was among the first Americans to sign up for service, and the earUest to arrive in France. For civiUans, the Great War was a...


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