Four easily digestible shorts fixate on fleeting incidents in the life of the young and fearful. A knock on the door precipitates the nonaction of "At the End of This Story the Door Will Open and Under Eight Seconds Will Have Passed," in which the narrator mulls over who might be calling. She runs through a series of insignificant scenarios, testing out irony and earnestness, before concluding, "I half believed that the world made sense and I just didn't get it." "Moments Before the Future Begins to Approach" takes a similarly offhand approach in short incidental sketches involving a high school girl engaged in a sad-funny dance with her absent father, who sends messages that they will meet, though he keeps changing the date. "McDonald's Is Impossible" is a clever but unsatisfying gesture that traces the action of the narrator's ordering a meal at the fast-food restaurant back to the meeting of her parents, while the last piece, "The Consumption," finds its working-girl narrator wounded by a breakup. Within a bland and insipid landscape, Martin finds moments of true sweetness. (Nov.) (c)
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These stories are awesome little jigsaw puzzles that turn into a whole miraculous universe. And in this universe, Chelsea Martin is yearning for the answers to life's biggest questions in the most entertaining way possible. This contemplative little book is both funny ha ha and funny peculiar. --Kevin Sampsell, author of A Common Pornography
Chelsea Martin writes beautifully. I get lost in her evocative prose and when she writes about loneliness I feel less alone. --Stephen Elliot, author of Happy Baby and The Adderall Diaries