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Blake Butler: Blake Butler has published the novella, Ever (Calamari Press), and the short story collection, Scorch Atlas (Featherproof Books), and has a novel and non-fiction book forthcoming from Harper Perennial. He edits the literary journal, Lamination Colony, and co-edits, No Colony. He also co-runs the independent publishing house, Year of the Liquidator. Lily Hoang: Lily Hoang has published three novels: Changing (Fairy Tale Review Press, 2008), Parabola (Chiasmus, 2008), and The Evolutionary Revolution (Les Figues Press, 2010).
The title alone tells me that I may be too old for this by about a decade, but I jumped into it eagerly. And discovered I'm a lot dumber and decidedly less hip than I had hoped.
Edited by Blake Butler and Lily Hoang The key is "innovative" and it really delivers on that end...the short stories that make up this collection bend all the rules, if not shattering them entirely. Metaphysical thought mixes with concrete metaphors, and the result feels inspired and youthful, even if it all doesn't make sense. Much of it went over my head, like hearing only the punch line of a joke and nodding amiably but cluelessly while everyone shrieks with laughter.
However, there is some dazzling writing here, and three I specifically want to mention, because they all lie outside the typical expectations about "good writing" may be. For one thing, the iconic story of Robin Hood and his Merry Men gets an experimental twist in "When Robin Hood Fell with An Arrow Through His Heart" by Todd Seabrook. The gang falls apart after Robin's death, not able to even kill themselves with their own arrows, despite trying. "The form starts to go when it hasn't been used," warns Seabrook. Having reached nearly the half-way point in the anthology, I couldn't help but think Seabrook was commenting on the very lack of variety and inventiveness in other forms of writing today, suggesting its "form" has already started to go from lack of innovation.
Joshua Cohen proves himself the master of killer lines in his part of the anthology, with seven short pieces all made visual and distinct with tight and compact wording. "On Location" delivers the line "It is a common problem in our cities today -- When you don't know you're in a movie that you're in.Read more ›
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