I am pretty much going to gush about this book. This is an incredibly visceral, intense, and provocative collection. Every story has a creative spin and take on traditional themes like identity, love, and transformation. Myths are contemporized, minotaurs are best friends, and someone is trying to build a hole to hell. What got me the most was how human every character felt and you really empathize with them, despite the odd circumstances they find themselves in. There are many disturbing moments and it’s not for the faint of heart. But if you want to be challenged as a reader and taken places you never thought you’d go, I definitely recommend this book. If it hadn’t been for my flu, I would have read this in one sitting. I just couldn’t wait to read more. As the book is free on smashbooks, you have no excuse not to at least check out a few of the stories. =)
Warning: A few spoilers to come from here on out.
“180 Degrees Shy of Heaven” was one of the funniest and yet deep stories about relationships I’ve ever read. Frank loves his wife Audrey. He just wishes she would have sex with him more often. To make a short story even shorter, he enters a bar, depressed, and then is given a miraculous chance to fulfill any wish he wants. He wishes that Audrey would get hornier often. What follows is a hilarious romp that leads to one of the best endings I’ve read. It reminded me in a way of O’Henry’s Gift of the Magi except with a completely different twist that had me really wondering about relationships and what makes them what they are. In other words, I loved it.
Speaking of O’Henry, I love the way Wallwork mixes myth, Biblical references, and literary allusions. I’ve always been a big fan of works with deeper texture and layers, and there are plenty here for those looking.
“Night Holds a Scythe” was a haunting story between a father and daughter escaping a terrible plague. Their interactions are touching and honestly, I really wanted to know more about what would happen to them.
“Anal Twine” had me cringing and I was both repulsed and drawn into the story. It is not pleasant reading, but necessary, and it has an intriguing commentary on memory, identity, and what happens when a cell strand from your hippocampus gets stuck in your asshole.
“Skin.” Wow. I could summarize it, but it’s one you just got to read.
In fact, I’d say that about the whole collection and I’ll end my review saying you should check it out. Oh, and on my kindle, the collection was only 49 pages so that’s my only complaint- I really wished it was longer!