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Everyone's Just So So Special Paperback – March 1, 2012
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Shearman is a hard writer to pin down. He flits in and out of genres with ease, his prose is deceptively simple but clearly thoughtful, and his stories are always more than they let on. As much as there is on the surface here, there’s a lot more hiding below. “Magical realism” would be the order of the day when describing Shearman’s writing, but that doesn’t really do his unique (dare I say “special”?) style justice.
I recently wrote a short story for a creative writing class in the style of Robert Shearman, aping not just his prose techniques but also a narrative trick that he used in one of the stories in Love Songs for the Shy and Cynical. And I think this is fairly ok – the story itself was original; and Shearman admits in Caustic Comedies to doing a similar thing with one of his heroes, so I’d like to think he wouldn’t mind too much. (You don’t mind, do you, Rob?) I bring up this not-terribly-original story because of my friend’s brief review of it – “I didn’t expect to feel things.” And that’s the way most of Shearman’s stories work: you go in unaware (or, at the very least, unprepared) and come out blindsided, hit by a proverbial 18-wheeler ferrying all sorts of feelings around the country.
And so it was with the stories in this collection, titled Everyone’s Just So So Special. The book purports to be about history and mediocrity, much like Shearman’s previous two books were about death and love. So, you know, easy stuff to tackle. And Shearman takes on these subjects with aplomb, fitting in conflicting views of each so that there’s no easy answer to the questions that each poses.Read more ›