Not long ago a friend of ours, the essayist Susan L. Feldman, knowing we were preparing to launch a new magazine called Narrative, sent us a one-line quote from a Paul Baumann review of a Thomas Keneally novel. Baumann, the editor of Commonweal, wrote, “Only myth, only narrative ... can capture the mystery of human goodness and evil.” Susan sent us this line as a good description of what we have in mind with our magazine, and we’re tempted to let the quote speak for us, no explanation or fanfare needed. But narrative, while to the point, is seldom laconic, and we would deny its pleasure if we didn’t give a fuller account of what we intend.
With Narrative, we hope to offer as transparent a medium as possible to connect readers and writers. We aim to advance no editorial stamp or personality such that anyone might say that a particular work is a “Narrative magazine” sort of piece; rather, our interest is in good writing and narratives that are entertaining, unpredictable, and charged with the shock of recognition that occurs when the human significance of the work is made manifest. We enjoy pieces in which the effects of language, situation, and insight are intense and total.