Seven phantasmagorical stories from debut author Booker.
Altered perceptions are the cornerstone of this collection of stories. “Brace for Impact” explores the inner life of a boy who has a transformative experience in his youth talking to a woman who said she'd been in a plane crash. “I wasn't sure if I believed in her," he thinks. "But in years afterward, whenever the bad turbulence hit, miles above Wyoming, or off the coast of Newfoundland, I’d feel the floor drop, hear bolts wrenched, the ripping of metal, a calamity of noise and wind, and think, now it gets real: and if you could surrender to that, how terribly fear, infinitely precious fear, would fall away: and that’s what it would be like to be seen by God.” A boy falls very ill in “A Drowning Accident” and can’t be sure what's real and what's imagined. Illness haunts a hypochondriac in “Are You Here for What I’m Here For?” “It was a kind of spiritual camouflage: you disguised yourself in a cloak of misfortune to trick fate into passing you over,” he writes. “It was a kind of dark magic performed in the corner of your heart. It was vaguely shameful, and Gina knew better. But you stuck with what seemed to work.” Sickness also runs amok in “The Sleeping Sickness,” which finds a physician exploring a landscape transformed. In “Here to Watch Over Me,” a man searches for his missing son in a remote lodge that might as well be in the same chain as the Hotel California. The book finally descends into full-on psychedelia in “Gumbo Limbo,” a myth about a coastal village in hysterics. But it wraps up with “Love Trip,” a nostalgic if slightly bent tale of a boarding school and the trials of childhood.
Carefully curated and slightly delicate tales of pedestrian terror.