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A Million Versions of Right Paperback – October 14, 2012
All Books, All the Time
Read author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more at the Amazon Book Review. Read it now
Australian writer Matthew Revert purposely disregards the boring limits of consensus reality in favor of a better experiential flow for author and audience. He's been called a "bizarro" writer, but prefers the tag absurdist.
The stories in A Million Versions of Right are irreal, but not confrontationally so. Revert distorts familiar experiences while retaining enough of the commonplace to make them universal for even the most staid of readers. A consistent motif is the unremarkable reactions of his protagonists when faced with circumstances beyond the unlikely (like ejaculating a series of mustachioed tillers, as occurs in the title story, where readers are introduced to the narrator's "clockwork father"). --Denver Examiner, April 16, 2010
A Million Versions of Right, Mister Revert's collection of short stories, is an amazing achievement. Why? Well, because I hate short story collections. There's only one other short story collection I liked and that was the Bauchelain and Korbal Broach collection by Steven Erikson. But those were different. Very different to these. I just can't stand getting into a story and then being flipped out and told to get into the next, which is doomed to be not as much fun because I kind of just wanted to read more about that character. I prefer novels.
And what makes them so great isn't their ideas. It's the style. Mister Revert has, simply, one of the most efficient and highly readable styles I've ever read for this genre. In most cases you can feel the author's desperate need to try and impress. You can see they're just trying to one-up the weirdness. But Mister Rever succeeds in keeping a natural eccentricity which is toned down greatly by a near precision-based editing exercise. You can see he's worked and reworked each story - and if he hasn't, then the man needs to be wired up to a machine which forces him to write, because if this is what he can do without effort, then he needs to give us something he tried. It would kick our brains out.
If you like it weird, and you like it intelligent and you like it to challenge your mind, you can't go wrong with A Million Versions of Right, because no matter how wrong you think a short story is, this book will prove they can sometimes be all right. --Lateral Books, April 18, 2010
This book offers a crucial and refreshing difference that should instantly establish it as a prototype of the Bizarro genre (perhaps New Absurdist? Subject for a debate no doubt). That difference is: in these stories, the nonsensical actually makes sense and the illogical is firmly grounded on logic, i.e. they have a raison-d'être.
Granted, perhaps testicular annihilation and scrotum aesthetics shouldn't be appreciated by all. And the paralysing fear that one or more of the `men' contained in `semen' may be what decides to burst forth at that next toe-curling moment is rarely a popular water-cooler topic. Ditto for power blinks, malfunctioning bookmarks, and one particular comb-jar deep in the Hair District... But all these things fill the pages for a reason, brilliantly described and brought to life to reveal the shocking silliness that exists in those things we call conventions. --Full of Crow, December 27, 2009
From the Inside Flap
"Revert is an absurdist with dirty hands and a dirty mind, willing to take words to weird places to make you laugh when you shouldn't--and yet still do."
Kris Saknussemm, author of ZANESVILLE and PRIVATE MIDNIGHT
"Revert takes everyday human experiences and distorts them into until they are totally bizarre while keeping enough of the "everyday" around so it brings to mind the things that many of us experience in our lives. And that is why this book is totally sweet."
Bradley Sands, author of IT CAME FROM BELOW THE BELT and MY HEART SAID NO BUT THE CAMERA CREW SAID YES
"Revert's off the wall humor, which can be at times amazingly sharp, totally nonsensical, out of third base, or subtle enough to miss if your not paying attention, bring the stories to the level of bizarre fever dreams."
Ray Fracalossy, author of TALES FROM THE VINEGAR WASTELAND
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Matthew Revert's A Million Versions of Right is one of the best collections of bizarro short fiction that I've read. There are only six stories in it, but most of them are fairly long, and all of them were enjoyable.
The book opens with the titular "A Million Versions of Right." This is the story of a young man who discovers that when he (makes super happy Fun in his pants), he will occasionally release a miniature tiler instead of the expected (male Reproductive cells) . The first time this happens he ends up having most of his body covered in tile before being rescued by his father. The whole experience tends to warp his (thing that can only be legally done by two consenting adults) life very badly.
The next story is "The Bricolage (Round Parts of the Male Dangly Bit)," which is about (two round friends in a sack who live on opposite sides of a cyclops). A school principal has hired two local boys to pulp his (sack with two balls in it)in front of his students because he hates (two parts of the little friend who lives in his pants). The boys manage to destroy their own (I hope you can figure out what I'm talking about because I've run out of metaphors for this body part) while practicing. Also there's an advocacy group that wants to stop the exhibition.
Then We have "The Great Headphone (Monkey Spanking)," which is about a man who has a job insulting walls. He is given a pair of headphones that only produce the sounds of (an activity that is generally performed solo). Weirdness ensues.
"Meeting Max" was the next story, and was one that I though was a bit slow paced, but I still enjoyed it a lot. It's about a guy who lives in the barber district and is obsessed with barbers. A bald guy is going around knocking over comb jars and smashing windows, and our hero tries to track him down Then lots of even weirder stuff happens.
Then come "Power Blink," which is mostly about band-aids.
The final story is "The Bookmark That Wouldn't Work," which is the fictional history of bookmarks, and the story of one woman with reading problems who gets a bookmark that won't work.
I like this collection a lot, and highly recommend it.
But that's Matthew Revert's strength - the strength to create these strange, bizarre, absurd worlds as if it was the most natural thing in the universe to do.
The first thing you will notice about these stories is how funny they are. Then the second thing you'll notice about them is how serious they are - how they're about those inner nooks and crannies of who you are, and of how you experience the world, and relationships, and life.
Each story in this book creates, within a few lines, its own world, its own voice, its own personality and somehow takes you into its heart so, against everything you would have expected of yourself, you find you are caring about those little tilers with their moustaches, and about the fate of scrotums, and about what those headphones are doing to people, and about the barbers, and the blinks, and the bookmarks. This ability to talk to you in so many different voices is not something I would have expected in a young author in his first collection of stories.
But there are lots of ways of being right and here, in this wonderful collection of short fiction, Matthew Revert shows you the very best of them.
The first three stories deserve the four stars. The Great Headphone Wank coming in first.
Imagine a pair of headphones you brought from the music store only played the sounds of a man yanking it. And now you and your girlfriend are addicted to the sounds like drugs. Oh and that's not all. The sounds actually help you find a lime that had been trapped behind a wall for many years. A really bizarre story that Revert tells with an absurd vocabulary.
The Bricolage Scrotum is a laugh out loud must read. I won't get into details just trust me on this.
So just like some little ghetto kid grab your slonge and pick up A Million Versions of Right.