We’ve got the Winter 2006 issue of Virginia Quarterly Review online now with, as always, a few articles available to non-subscribers. This issue is an unusual one — it’s dedicated to the topic of AIDS in Africa, featuring a series of articles exploring all of the facets of the epidemic. It makes for heavy reading, but it’s totally worth it. I particularly enjoyed Jann Turner’s “Nightgirls,” which chronicles the week that the author spent with prostitutes that work at a truck stop in Mozambique.
I’ve got to mention Helen Epstein’s pair of articles, though I have to admit that I haven’t finished one of them just yet. (Some may recall that I recommended a good read of Epstein’s “The Hidden Cause of AIDS in Africa” during the discussion of erstwhile candidate Chris Craddock’s bizarre, election-losing assertion that AIDS is epidemic in Africa because “Africans will have sex with anything that has a pulse.”) Epstein contributes “AIDS and Africa’s Hidden War” and The Underground Economy of AIDS” to the latest VQR. Her writing, as always, goes way beyond the surface, leaving the reader feeling flush with new insight. I only know her work from The New York Times and New Scientist, so I’m really wowed to see her writing for Virginia Quarterly Review.
There’s lots of other great stuff in the issue, including the second installment of Art Spiegelman’s “Portrait of the Artist as a Young %@?*!,” a pair of poems by Billy Collins, and an original piece of fiction by Steve Almond.