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The Coffin Factory – Review of a Literary Magazine

The Coffin Factory serves as a nexus between readers, writers, and the book publishing industry.  Our mission is to provide great literature and art to people who love books, including those who do not usually read literary magazines.

We believe that quality literature and art are essential for the existence of an intelligent society.  In order to perpetuate an intellectually engaged culture, The Coffin Factory publishes phenomenal fiction, essays, and art three times a year. – from The Coffin Factory

T.C. Boyle, Roberto Bolaño, Lydia Davis, Juan Pablo Villalobos, John Kenny, Bronwyn Mauldin, Jonathan Galassi & Jeff Seroy of Farrar, Straus and Giroux. What do all these people have in common? Their stories, interviews and art all appear in the newest edition of The Coffin Factory, a literary magazine published three times a year. The magazine is jam-packed with  poetry, artwork, two terrific interviews, and nine pieces of literary fiction.

In Meiguo, Bronwyn Mauldin explores the division between expectations and reality for Chinese immigrants crammed into the hold of a ship.

I have no illusions about what awaits me. None of us do. We have labored hard our whole lives and could expect only more of the same for ourselves and our children. In America, we will break our backs for some years to pay off our debts to the cold, hard men who brought us here, but were we not slaves to our own grinding poverty in China? – from Meiguo –

Gabrielle Lucille Fuentes crafts an oddly compelling story about professional mourners whose jobs cross the line into the personal in her short story titled The Field of Professional Mourners. Told in the first person point of view, the narrator introduces the reader to an employee named Monique who may hold the answer to why employees of the company are disappearing.

Robert Bolano’s short fiction, The Killer and The Whore, is a translation from the Spanish by Natasha Wimmer and is the story of a murder-for-hire which goes wrong. Written completely in dialogue, it reads a bit like a black comedy.

We saw them from the distance and right away we knew it and tey kept coming. I mean: we knew who they were, they knew who we were, they knew that we knew who they were, we knew that they knew that we knew who they were. Everything was clear. – from The Killer and The Whore –

John Kenny’s portraits of Sub-Saharan Africa are remarkable. I was especially drawn to the intensity of the subjects’ gazes – their eyes drew me into the photos.

Both interviews featured in this edition of The Coffin Factory were wonderful. I love the fiction of T.C. Boyle and so it was his interview I read first. Insightful and surprisingly funny, the interview reveals the man behind the stories and made me want to run out and buy Boyle’s newest novel, San Miguel.

The fiction published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux is almost always some of the best literature of the year (they publish the acclaimed work of Jonathan Franzen and Jeffrey Eugenides amongst others). The interview with Jonathan Galassi (president and publisher) and Jeff Seroy (senior vice-president of marketing and publicity) covers the history of the publishing company, how work is selected, marketing of books, and the changing world of publishing.

One of the  things that I am very preoccupied with now, and I’m not alone, is the pushing down of price by Amazon and the so-called eBook revolution. It makes books more accessible for the consumer, but it’s not great for the writer. The author is earning less, and I’m really worried about that. – Jonathan Galassi –

The magazine is currently reaching out to libraries with their Library Donation Project with the goal to donate 1000 magazines around the country. Librarians may request to be added to the donation list, and currently the editors of The Coffin Factory are seeking financial donations to make their project a reality.

The Coffin Factory is a treasure trove for the literary fiction lover. It has an international flavor (four of the nine short stories in the current issue are translations) which will appeal to those readers who want to experience literature and art from around the world. The work you will find between the glossy pages of this magazine is avant garde, original and visually engaging. Readers who want to expand their literary horizons will want to subscribe to The Coffin Factory. Learn more here.

FTC Disclosure: I am most grateful to Enrico Bruno for sending me a copy of this magazine for review on my blog.


  1. December 18, 2012    

    Wonderful. I never received a copy of the magazine, but I did have them guest post on one of the months I was otherwise occupied. Seems like a good magazine.

  2. December 20, 2012    

    thanks for the info; I had not heard of or seen this magazine. It sounds quite good

  3. December 23, 2012    

    What a discovery! I never heard of The Coffin Factory and will be sure to check it out.

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