Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Strangers and Familiars

If you enjoy fiction or admire another's mastery of language to create characters and situations you fully realize are fictional but whose sound, sight and smell are too real and you have a kindle and one penny less than three dollars, have I got a deal for you that started at midnight today (you can't get newer unless you wrote a book yourself).

Be advised, I've Never Done This Before is not a collection of special snowflake moments that are intended to warm your soul. At least I don't think so. Much of it consists of brilliantly executed snapshots torn from lives in progress of people we know (knew) and/or in some instances are (were). The language of each of these stories is beyond beautiful but the tales told are very often not. 

And speaking of language, it is extremely frank (and if you read that as old guy code for something else, we're both right) though as our two children are part of the same chronological cohort (of sorts) I get it, but I still am a little more than a bit uncomfortable about it (just ignore me going all crimson in the corner).

I've spoken of Claire's talent at length quite some time ago and if you paid attention, good for you, this work will come as less of a surprise and more of a confirmation of what you already had been told (and of how smart I am; modest, not so much). 

In a way, I'm sad to have had so many other opportunities to read so much of her work because it means my universe of enjoyment is somewhat smaller because it contains fewer undiscovered gems than yours does, like the ones here. 

I have to mention the artwork that complements these glimpses into dark places, provided by Aaron Lee Perry. They add, in their own way, another dimension and texture to what this compilation is all about. 

You'll get through this very quickly but that's fine because I believe you'll  return to it repeatedly, discovering something new, perhaps overlooked or under-read from the previous sojourn that will catch you up short and give you pause as you examine characters both alike and different from anyone you've ever known or ever feared you could become.
-bill kenny   

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