Monday, July 11, 2011

Stories For The Nighttime And Some For The Day - Ben Loory


Stories For Nighttime And Some For The Day
Ben Loory
Penguin
 
Short Fiction
 
This collection of short stories is unlike any other I’ve ever read.  Most of the stories are quite short.  Most are a few pages; the shortest, “The Shadow” is a bare three sentences.  Even so, each one is like a stone polished to a shine.  There’s nothing there that doesn’t belong; nothing extraneous.  Many of the stories are written in present tense, giving them an even greater immediacy.
 
The stories are by turns moving, funny, frightening, gentle, absurd, and thought-provoking.  No matter how strange the subject matter may seem on its face, in the tiny universe of the story, it’s all perfectly logical.  Witness “The House On The Cliff And The Sea,” who fall hopelessly in love.  Or “The Octopus” who lives in an apartment and has his young nephews come from the sea for a visit.  It sounds crazy, or like a children’s story.  And, when I think about it, those two are quite closely related.  But the octopus, in his story, is everyone.
 
Each one of these little gems will speak to someone.  Many someones, most likely.  Like most fables and fairy tales, there are lessons to be learned from these stories.  They’re written for adults, but I think they’d make great bedtime stories for kids, too.  Reading these stories felt almost like being read to, in a way that I’m not sure I can quite articulate.  My guess is that this volume will become a classic.  I know that I’ll want to re-read this sooner, rather than later.  Don’t miss the longer story in the Appendix, included “at the publisher’s request.”

Rating: 9
July 2011
ISBN# 978-0-14-311950-0 (trade paperback)

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