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Pirate Therapy and Other Cures Paperback – March 12, 2012
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"Pirate Therapy is one of the most enjoyable collections I've ever read, and an absolute joy from cover to cover."
"I've only come across a few truly funny writers, and Mark Rayner is one of them."
-- Terry Fallis, Author of Best Laid Plans
From the Back Cover
"Mark A. Rayner is just a terrific storyteller and one of the most imaginative and original writers you will ever have the pleasure of reading. Do yourself a favor, grab this book and settle down for a journey into places you've never been to before and characters you will be delighted to meet. Pirate Therapy is one of the most enjoyable collections I've ever read, and an absolute joy from cover to cover."
-- Ian Ferguson, Author of Village of the Small Houses
"I know some very funny people. I've also met lots of writers. But I've only come across a few truly funny writers, and Mark Rayner is one of them."
-- Terry Fallis, Author of Best Laid Plans
"Virtuosically combining the techniques of speculative fiction and political commentary with wide learning in the Romish faith, Dadaism and the Gruntwerx Paradigm, Mark A. Rayner gives us a rich array of concise vignettes, clothed in such neglected genres as the postcard, the email message and the agony column cri de coeur. Never has pop culture been so hilariously satirized, nor history so perversely revised."
-- Tom Bradley, Author of Lemur and Bomb Baby
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Mark Rayner's sense of humor must keep his family in stitches! His intelligence and spot on grasp of current events and/or historical events is surprising and then to discover that he is Canadian, eh? I'm curious about whether or not he had down writing for comedians or comedy shows. Or if he has done any stand up himself? Anyway, this is a must read for everyone!
Reading Level: Adult
Recommended for: Canadians; those who enjoy surreal short stories, fans of Rayner's blog
Disclosure: I picked this book up on Amazon when I noticed it one day because it sounded like something I would enjoy. I am reviewing it because I want to. All opinions are my own.
Synopsis: Ever wondered what might happen if your therapist was replaced by a pirate? Or how disquieting it would be to receive postcards from your future self? If William Shatner was elected President of the United States, what would his inaugural address sound like? Mark A. Rayner tackles these, and stranger, questions in his collection of short stories, essays and flash fiction that thrum with the absurd and hum with alienation, all to a humorous beat. Jesus contends with dinosaurs. Marcel Duchamp describes what happens to a Dadaist who has a monkey's tail grafted to his butt. Whether he is explaining how Anne of Green Gables destroyed the world, or outlining Thor's new PR strategy, Rayner entertains with wit, humor and an imagination that is one step short of certifiable
My Thoughts: I found this book on Amazon awhile back. Some time later (days? weeks? I don't quite recall) the author contacted me about reviewing The Fridgularity. Once I accepted that, I decided to read them one after another, since I like to sample as many of an author's books together as I can. I really enjoyed the author's style in a full-length novel and wondered how that would transfer into shorter fiction.
And, well, to be honest, I prefer his longer stuff - it gives him more room to play. Don't get me wrong - there are some real gems in here - but the short nature of them doesn't let him have quite as much fun (it seems) with the ideas before time is up, you know? I did really enjoy General Kang - some of the best quotes in the book come from General Kang - but since this is flash fiction, I'll be keeping out any quotes to avoid spoilers. The Viking version of Pastafarianism was hilarious, too.
A lot of this comes from his blog and other on-line sources, so many of these pieces you can find if you do some serious searching, but it's easier to get it all in one place, don't you think? Anyway, a lot of this stuff tends toward the obscure and surreal, but it was an enjoyable read overall. I, for one, prefer what he is able to do with longer works, but this is a great way to get introduced to his style.
Mark Rayner has an oddball sense of humor. That's a strength. I really liked parts of "Pirate Therapy And Other Cures," and some parts of it I didn't like at all. Parts of it made me laugh. Other parts made me grown.
Rayner certainly has a different way of looking at the world, and I like that. The problem with "Pirate Therapy And Other Cures" is that some of the material attempts to be humorous but falls flat. That, and it's just too long. I stopped reading halfway through, not because I was tired of reading it but because I have a long list of reading material that I really wanted to get to.
The author is really good at writing, though it's difficult to gauge whether or not he can tell a story.
"Pirate Therapy And Other Cures" is a collection of odd prose pieces that don't really fit into a category. Some of them are above the bar, some are well below the bar, and others move the bar completely. I give it three stars because I couldn't make up my mind completely on whether I liked the book or didn't. I liked parts of it. Parts of it I thought were very good. And then there are parts I could have done away with.
Instead of saying whether I like the book or not, I'd rather say that it's worth $3.00 if you're into this kind of silly, sometimes sophomoric, humor. Rayner could have taken a lot of material out and made the book better overall, IMO. But if this is your thing, then the length won't be an issue. You'll find it to be an asset.