Ellen Loughran, Booklist
Reading Lee’s debut collection feels a bit like watching a black-and-white film by Jim Jarmusch. In both cases, down-and-out characters with odd, off-kilter ways of verbalizing their experience are filtered through the lens of a narrator/director who could very well have something in his eye.”
Sue Russell, Library Journal
The range of genres is wide, with satires of country music lyrics, Kafkaesque parables about the anxiety of the living to avoid death, and a disturbing dialogue between a murderer in hell and his victim in heaven. . . . Lee is very successful in creating a dream-like, emotionally disconnected state throughout, with intentionally stilted dialogue and plots that tend to revolve around forms of symbolic gestures, physical violence, or sexual deviance.”
Lee also utilizes a variety of structures that, once encountered, you can’t imagine the story told any other way.”
S. Hope Mills, ForeWord Reviews
I was drawn to Michael Jeffrey Lee’s line-up of loners and drifters, imperiled children and haunted psychos neither because I want to hang out with these bad boys, nor because I plan to cross the street when I see them coming, but because the invitation to inhabit their minds, to see the world through their eyes, and to watch their often unsettling stories play out in space and time enables Lee to do all sorts of extremely interesting things with consciousness and language.”
I am scared by these stories. But, as Jean Cocteau’s Belle tells her Beast, J’aime avoir peur. I like to be scared. These dark and beautiful tales offer a terrible thrill, a creepy adventure into the land of fairy-tale madmen. In Lee’s world, they’re just some bummed out regular guys, rendered in the most mealy and exquisite prose. I like to be scared by them, by this talent.
"Relevant, startling and irresistible, Michael Lee's own unique brand of black humor makes for an extraordinary experience."