Hideous Exuberance by Stephen C. Bird

Hideous Exuberance

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A collection of hyperenergetic, scatological, stream-of-consciousness short stories.

Bird (Catastrophically Consequential, 2012) serves up 12 highly impressionistic stories in this revised edition of his original 2009 collection. The stories range from the frantic Harry Potter parody of “Szczmawgwhore(ts): A Pornographick Bitch-Story” to the sardonic true-crime parody of “Bobby Chushingura,” with its fierce send-up of small-town Middle America (“Bobby had grown up on the wrong side of the tracks of a rural-suburban Rust Belt town populated by wealthy equestrian enthusiasts who were only as sick as their secrets”). Also notable are the almost incoherent psychedelic ramblings of the linked stories “Gothra Schvulkopf and the Daily Grind” and “Gothra Schvulkopf and Her Pumpkin Trolls,” which, even at their most disconnected, are saved by Bird’s skilled pacing and surprisingly lovely turns of phrase: “One can espy an Amazonian jungle creeping along the edge of my bikini line. Little children burn doggie poo in paper bags on my doorstep on Halloween and run away cackling in the harvest moon dry brown leaf rustling night.” Bird is a performance artist in New York City, and many of his stories in this collection would likely be far more effective in performance, where the copious amounts of profanity would likely be funnier than they are on the page. Even so, the narrative swagger Bird brings to stories like “The Travails of Ginger Bocey” (“Her wore them dirty pants with pride, her warn’t no society lady, her life were dirty and she rubbed it in everyone’s face”) gives them a welcome, raunchy life all their own.

Fast-paced, lewd and extremely unconventional short stories that may appeal to fans of Mark Danielewski and David Foster Wallace.

Pub Date: Jan. 31st, 2013
ISBN: 978-0615581705
Page count: 212pp
Publisher: Hysterical Dementia
Program: Kirkus Indie
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