STORIES FOR NIGHTTIME AND SOME FOR THE DAY by Ben Loory
Kirkus Star

STORIES FOR NIGHTTIME AND SOME FOR THE DAY

KIRKUS REVIEW

These minimal, surreal confabulations are tiny dramas whittled down to their unadorned emotional core, carrying readers through transformations of mood to striking, often startling and always unexpected epiphanies. 

A man is haunted by his awareness of a secret monster sleeping at the bottom of the local pool; when his disguise fails a moose must flee for his life from a sportsmens’ party; the sea and a house fall in love with one another and are initially frustrated in their attempts to unite; an octopus finds his solitude and spoon-polishing habit interrupted when his nephews come to visit from the sea; boys crawl into dark places where they face their fears and find light; a father, attempting to save his son from a well, learns to fly. If one story could encapsulate the irrationality that drives this irreducible collection, it would be “On the Way Down: A Story for Ray Bradbury,” about a falling man, a play on Bradbury’s admonition against pure intellect: “you’ve got to jump off cliffs all the time and build your wings on the way down.” Loory gives wings to many of these flights of fancy, but their flights are unpredictable and his machinery, deceptively simple, is mysterious. Many flirt with mythology and metaphor, drawing characters into an underworld of phobias, of sex and death and loneliness, allowing them to return enlightened, but the playfulness that permeates Loory’s work prevents them from coming off as preachy. Always they entertain with a delightful elasticity of mind, a deep pathos and an infectious sense of the comic aspects of the human condition. These very short stories are all the more impressive in the depth and openness to interpretation they achieve with simple elements and a lack of real characters. Yet despite the fact that the stories are undeveloped, like stick figures in a flip book, Loory uses some sort of magic to elicit strong pathos.  

One of a kind: a thoroughly entertaining antidote to rigid thinking and excessive seriousness.

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-14-311950-0
Page count: 208pp
Publisher: Penguin
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 2011




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