09 January 2015


In Search of and OthersIn Search of and Others by Will Ludwigsen
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I share the author's obsession with the old In Search of... series starring Leonard Nimoy, and Ludwigsen does a wonderful job writing pieces that resonate with that vibe. It also seems he and I share some other interests and experiences in common: with Appalachia, the mental health profession, and--if the multiple appearances of dead people in rivers are any indication--Raymond Carver's story "So Much Water, So Close to Home."

My issue was that, with exceptions, my general reading experience was that of being told. Yes, I realize that may even have been the point. Heck, in the story "We Were Wonder Scouts," we're told a story which has a scene in which a secondary character tells a story. But the approach is double-edged. There's no question Ludwigsen has mad storytelling skills. But I didn't always feel the sort of tension I like to feel in short-short stories.

The exceptions really touch me, though. "Mom in the Misted Lands" had such a poignancy in its telling and in its theme. "The Ghost Factory" hit a different spot, giving me a (pleasantly!) sickening "There, but for the grace..." feeling.

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07 January 2015

Quickie Review: BEFORE THE INCAL

Before the IncalBefore the Incal by Alejandro Jodorowsky
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The book almost defies your expectations of a prequel for The Incal. Still, you get the origins of pathetic Class "R" detective John DiFool, you see the byzantine and surreal chain of events that push him directly to his role in that story, and you see in the last chapter--which I personally could've done without--wherein Jodo feels the need to show every other character in The Incal and how they're positioned to take up their roles in that book. But that doesn't take away from how brilliantly the Jodoverse was fleshed out by Zoran Janjetov in true Moebius-like fashion. And while this story is a significantly lighter on spiritual concepts than The Incal, Jodo does a great job highlighting the existential and practical suffering of a world which lacks the spiritual.

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05 January 2015


Just thought I'd start 2015 by catching up on some reviews...

If I Would Leave Myself Behind: StoriesIf I Would Leave Myself Behind: Stories by Lauren Becker
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The writing in this collection of flash pieces captured me. I got so caught up in the moment by the oft-times brutal economy of language, of the images of despair, ferocity, hope, and survival that I was pretty breathless by the time I was done with it. So much so that when I try to sit down and wrote about the collection in aggregate, I feel like I somehow missed the forest for the trees and so I'd reopen the book, go back over a few pieces, only to find myself breathless again. I've done this three or four times now, so here, 5 out of 5 already!

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