Intriguing journeys through ambiguous states of being.



These short stories, poems, and a novella explore surreal landscapes of emotions and relationships.

The first four parts of this collection each contain a short story followed by three related poems. The final section features a novella and a single poem. A sense of surrealism and uncertain identity underlies these pieces, as in the opening tale, “The Antonym of Flower is Wind,” which begins with a dreamlike image: “The swan that sleeps on people’s bellybuttons.” It’s offered by a young woman called Lorelei, who fascinates the narrator, but he eventually realizes that “something was leaving” inside her, going somewhere he can’t follow. Over the years, some things remind him of Lorelei: the harmonica, fireflies. In the narrator’s mailbox is a letter from Lorelei telling him: “You’re over there, over in the real world. I’m not there….You’d never find me. He remembers her saying she can’t ever be human, and “in some ways, you’re just like me.” The accompanying poems use associated imagery; in “No Longer Human,” for example, “the fireflies float / then no longer glow / … / So you, too, / so warm and loving, may no longer stay.” In another story, “A Silent Anemone,” a man claims to be from Venus, and the narrator (who pretends to be deaf but isn’t) can’t help believing him. In other tales, characters transform themselves, confront death and evanescence, and look for the real and unreal within the mundane. In his book, Stone (I’m a Duck With Alligator Fingers, 2018) writes in a captivating magical realist vein. His images are dreamy, too, and often melancholic: A girl who tries to sail her ship to the moon discovers that “even in the myth, the moon failed.” Romance, or at least the promise of it, underlies many of these stories, with the mysterious embodied by an attractive young woman. A dream girl isn’t the freshest trope, but it’s complicated by an aura of unease or alienation. At times, the author overrelies on cultural touchstones, especially songs, to establish taste and coolness credentials (including “Another World” by Kinoko Teikoku; “The Dandelion Girl” by Robert F. Young; and Dalí’s The Persistence of Memory). 

Intriguing journeys through ambiguous states of being.

Pub Date: April 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-578-49758-7

Page Count: 190

Publisher: Time Tunnel Media

Review Posted Online: Sept. 9, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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A first novel, this is also a first person account of Scout's (Jean Louise) recall of the years that led to the ending of a mystery, the breaking of her brother Jem's elbow, the death of her father's enemy — and the close of childhood years. A widower, Atticus raises his children with legal dispassion and paternal intelligence, and is ably abetted by Calpurnia, the colored cook, while the Alabama town of Maycomb, in the 1930's, remains aloof to their divergence from its tribal patterns. Scout and Jem, with their summer-time companion, Dill, find their paths free from interference — but not from dangers; their curiosity about the imprisoned Boo, whose miserable past is incorporated in their play, results in a tentative friendliness; their fears of Atticus' lack of distinction is dissipated when he shoots a mad dog; his defense of a Negro accused of raping a white girl, Mayella Ewell, is followed with avid interest and turns the rabble whites against him. Scout is the means of averting an attack on Atticus but when he loses the case it is Boo who saves Jem and Scout by killing Mayella's father when he attempts to murder them. The shadows of a beginning for black-white understanding, the persistent fight that Scout carries on against school, Jem's emergence into adulthood, Calpurnia's quiet power, and all the incidents touching on the children's "growing outward" have an attractive starchiness that keeps this southern picture pert and provocative. There is much advance interest in this book; it has been selected by the Literary Guild and Reader's Digest; it should win many friends.

Pub Date: July 11, 1960

ISBN: 0060935464

Page Count: 323

Publisher: Lippincott

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1960

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While a few weeks ago it seemed as if Praeger would have a two month lead over Dutton in their presentation of this Soviet best seller, both the "authorized" edition (Dutton's) and the "unauthorized" (Praeger's) will appear almost simultaneously. There has been considerable advance attention on what appears to be as much of a publishing cause celebre here as the original appearance of the book in Russia. Without entering into the scrimmage, or dismissing it as a plague on both your houses, we will limit ourselves to a few facts. Royalties from the "unauthorized" edition will go to the International Rescue Committee; Dutton with their contracted edition is adhering to copyright conventions. The Praeger edition has two translators and one of them is the translator of Doctor Zhivago Dutton's translator, Ralph Parker, has been stigmatized by Praeger as "an apologist for the Soviet regime". To the untutored eye, the Dutton translation seems a little more literary, the Praeger perhaps closer to the rather primitive style of the original. The book itself is an account of one day in the three thousand six hundred and fifty three days of the sentence to be served by a carpenter, Ivan Denisovich Shukhov. (Solzhenitsyn was a political prisoner.) From the unrelenting cold without, to the conditions within, from the bathhouse to the latrine to the cells where survival for more than two weeks is impossible, this records the hopeless facts of existence as faced by thousands who went on "living like this, with your eyes on the ground". The Dutton edition has an excellent introduction providing an orientation on the political background to its appearance in Russia by Marvin Kalb. All involved in its publication (translators, introducers, etc.) claim for it great "artistic" values which we cannot share, although there is no question of its importance as a political and human document and as significant and tangible evidence of the de-Stalinization program.

Pub Date: June 15, 1963

ISBN: 0451228146

Page Count: 181

Publisher: Praeger

Review Posted Online: Oct. 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1963

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