In the preface of her novel Y, Marjorie Celona writes about that perfect letter. "The wishbone, fork in the road, empty wineglass. The question we ask over and over... Coupled with an L, let's make an adverb... a Greek letter (that) joined the Latin alphabet after the Romans conquered Greece in the first century--a double agent: consonant and vowel. No one used adverbs before then, and no one was happy."
A friend saw me reading Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore and asked what I thought about the magical realism in the novel. I don't read dust jackets before beginning books, so I have to admit that I was a little disappointed to learn I had selected a title with any enchantment attached.
While you shouldn't judge a book by its cover, the illustration on the cover of the The News from Spain by Joan Wickersham is somewhat telling of what's inside. A single red ribbon on a black background ties each of the stories together through theme and repeated phrases. The ribbon flows with no bows or knots, bleeding off the page. Similar in design, these stories are not wrapped in tidy packages. Sometimes they begin with no introduction and end abruptly, leaving the reader to speculate about what will happen next.