robert vivian

A BFS Review: Mystery My Country

Mystery My Country Cover PageI’ve been remiss this past week and forgotten to post about Issue 8 of Split Rock Review going live! A colleague of mine, Crystal Gibbins, started up Split Rock about four years ago, and it’s been a great privilege to serve on the editorial staff since 2015. As with many other web-only literary magazines, most of our pieces are on the shorter side (fiction can be at most 2500 words), but we generally have a great mix of poetry, non-fiction, and fiction to check out. In Issue 8, we even have a short graphic narrative/novel this time around!

As I have with a few other issues, I reviewed a book. This time it was Robert Vivian’s Mystery My Country, and wow… words are just so hard to describe this collection of short essays. I’ll let the review speak for me, but reading these essays is something akin to jumping into a frozen lake. I’m still not sure how sitting in a sauna until you’re almost uncomfortably hot can make it possible for you to run out through the snow and jump into a large hole cut in the ice without once feeling the burn of the cold, but I know it’s possible. It’s a rush and a relief, all at the same time—and that’s the closest metaphor I can find for the joy Vivian’s work creates in its reader.