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Reviewed by: Cheryl LaGuardia, Research Librarian, Widener Library, Harvard University
Narrative Works is a journal “committed to exploring the complex role of narrative in countless aspects of human life.” ‘Narrative’ here is interpreted as “narrative theory, narrative inquiry, narrative analysis, or narrative practice,” so the journal content includes work in anthropology, the arts, cultural studies, education, ethics, gender studies, health care, gerontology, literature, psychology, religion, sociology, and theology.
Issues contain articles and invited articles (sometimes called “Outside the Box”) and may include a book review. Interestingly, the editors stipulate that articles be “accessible to readers who are not specialists in the writer's discipline.”
And the articles fulfill this requirement beautifully! I was unprepared for my response to the material here – I was completely captivated by it. The disciplinary locus for articles is, frankly, all over the place, but all are written to engage the reader in how narrative affects and reveals the human condition.
Consider the range of subjects among these titles: “Narrative and the Reconfiguration of Social Work Ethics,” “Stand Together or Fall Alone: Narratives from Former Teachers,” “Between Work and Nonwork: Precarious Transitions through Life Stories and Everyday Life,” “Peak Oil and the Everyday Complexity of Human Progress Narratives,” “Hyper Attention and the Rise of the Antinarrative: Reconsidering the Future of Narrativity,” and “Narrative Gerontology, Spiritual Time.” In a single issue you leapfrog from social work to education to risk biographies to “big” and “little” life stories, the antinarrative (“a nonform that eschews such conventions as plot, character development, and resolution”), and narrative theology and gerontology – yet connections are made among all these areas of endeavor through the linking concept of the importance of stories.
Narrative Works is a beautifully conceived and implemented title that deserves to be promoted by libraries and read by students of life – including librarians.