This is an ode to co-dependence. Let’s all be extremely self-conscious and revel in the knowledge that we are imperfect beings that not even Keith Richards can illuminate. And who is Keith Richards to you, anyway? And how can you be sad in the summertime when he shows up precisely not to give you love or validation? Let’s take a walk in the park. Let’s hold ourselves tight and sing, Baby, baby keep me happy.
Mike Young has range. First saw him reciting poetry with puppets & other props, performing sans script. Was pretty blown away, especially after reading such weirdness sculpted beautifully in the book We Are All Good If They Try Hard Enough. But wait, Young writes short fiction too – see Look! Look! Feathers which includes "Same Heart They Put You In". Here’s a wincingly funny bildungsromanesque (it’s a long story) that captures a 90s voice as well as Cameron Crowe’s Fast Times caught the 70s, John Hughes the 80s, or George W. Bush the 00s (who did capture that last decade?…Mike may’ve got that one too). So I’m bad for hyperbole, but in short, expect a blockbuster out of Young’s writing one day. And more puppets! -CM
The Correspondence Artist, Barbara Browning’s 21st century epistolary novel is jam-packed with cultural references and lubricated body parts and has been praised by Harry Matthews, DJ Spooky and Rebecca Miller. In a fiction that merges with cultural theory, Vivian and her lover Tzipi Honigman, a 68-year-old Nobel Prize-winning Israeli novelist, make out to a mix tape that includes such hits as Lacan’s seminar on Poe, Sartre and Simone Beauvoir’s threeway, Tippi Hedron the Swedish Jew and mistranslated sexual idioms. Is it a federal offense to steal a letter or is it in fact totally impossible? When you steal a letter, do you become the letter’s true intended audience? Either way this is mail worth rifling through. The book is due out in February from Two Dollar Radio.
Lonely Christopher brags "You might be the loneliest person in the world. You’ll never be as lonely as me," but what he lacks in friends he seems to be making up for with admirers. His short story collection The Mechanics of Homosexual Intercourse is due out in February from Akashic and has already been praised by Dennis Cooper, Kevin Killian and Dale Peck. His story "That Which" explores the mother-child bond with the apocalyptic intensity that only a true shut-in can know.
Alissa Nutting’s collection of short stories Unclean Jobs for Women and Girls was selected Ben Marcus as the winner of the Starcherone Prize for Innovative Fiction. Both funny and experimental, each story in the collection is told by a woman stuck in an unpleasant job, such as zoo keeper, knife thrower, corpse smoker and even the rather unlikely human ant farm. Her story "Ice Melter" is a cocktail of diabetes, heroin chic and social anxiety. The collection is due out on October first.
If you drive to a parking lot in Ohio over the Labor Day weekend, you might see this exact story taking place. Matt Jent nails the teenage experience of this spot on the calendar: making a name for yourself at a new school, the thrills of the the backseats of cars, the anxiety and excitement of, gulp, hanging out with older kids. If like me, your heart still dies a little every time you see a "Back to School Sale" sign, Matt Jent’s impeccable pacing and a great ear for dialogue ought to take the edge off. Accompanying illustration provided by Ben Costa, winner of a Xeric Award for his self-published comic book Shi Long Pang.