Forum / Hmm.

  • Better.thumb
    Smiley McGrouchpants Jr.
    May 18, 07:16pm

    "A short story collection about the problematic lives of mostly young people.

    "The opening story, 'Dead Uncle,' follows Roy, a Maine entrepreneur who owns the state’s only drive-thru funeral business, which gets its share of mentally exhausted caregivers finally experiencing personal freedom. In 'Uninscribed Tablet,' a CIA double agent perplexes the unnamed narrator who tries in vain to unscramble her motives and capture her romantic attention; the speaker of 'Don’t Leave Me Alone!' reflects on the friends he made and betrayed in grade school, and what became of them. In the longest and most fully realized story, 'Surgery Without Anesthesia,' a carload of road-tripping buddies embark on a journey to Cape Cod and fill the journey with good-natured ribbing and 'surface-layer bullshitting'[*]; only at the end of the story do readers learn of one friend’s secret, which comes as a shock to the others. Overall, this is a breezy collection of tales that stretch the boundaries of the short-fiction form in a moderately appealing fashion. However, many are narrated in the immature voices of teenagers and too often feel like clipped scenes from a larger story. This is apparent in the standout 'Fair-Weather Best Friends Forever,' in which a carload of high school seniors runs out of gas and the narrator, after years of rickety friendships, grows weary of them as they walk to a party. Here, the author’s characterization is at its most lucid and the situation is compelling enough to make readers want more. However, the tale ends just as the plot starts to simmer. Other works disappoint as they amount to mere sketches of a plot or a fleeting thought, such as the dreams of a transatlantic traveler[**] or the panic-stricken diatribe of an insurance adjuster whose self-described 'Double Life' is exposed by a felonious co-worker. Two short 'essays' form the collection’s perplexing conclusion[***], including one credited to a 'ghost contacted by Ouija board.'

    "A creative but mixed bag of sometimes-bizarre tales."
    And, for what it's worth, it's here:
    And here:

    [*] They seem daunted/or-enlightened by permissive swearing. Huh. - ed.
    [**] It's a joke. They really don't like flash fiction. "Increased Discomfort" -- remember? About Rachel (modeled on B. Glaser -- at the time! #ha) and the pretzels-instead-of-peanuts, saving the world out of boredom, and then falling asleep cause she's just making it up because her mind is wandering. Huh. - ed.
    [***] The first line has essays concluding each issue about the first sentence of certain famous novels. "Call me Ishmael," anyone? (They actually did that one recently -- if recently means since 2010, I guess!) I did "A screaming comes across the sky." and "Early one morning Gregor Samsa awoke from UNEASY dreams [emph. mine] to find himself transformed into a giant insect." Gotta get the right *translation*! Maybe I should have been a little more *explicit*? Huh. - ed.



  • Frankenstein-painting_brenda-kato.thumb
    Sam Rasnake
    Jun 18, 08:02pm

    Thanks for the links.

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