There is a familiar, predictable narrative flow to most conventional fictional works – character introduction and development, awareness of some internal or external conflict, ultimate resolution, etc. – not so with Loory’s bare-boned tales, most of which are five pages or less. There is no deep character analysis, great revelation at the conclusion of his stories, no easily digestible existential or spiritual significance. And that is the sheer brilliance of Stories for Nighttime and Some for the Day – the impact of these bite-sized stories isn’t direct but works its way into readers’ subconscious circuitously. This is one of those rare collections that will stay with readers long after consuming.
But it’s not the unconventional – and sometimes unsatisfying – endings that struck me as much as the way Loory began his stories. There were so many wonderfully imaginative and compelling first lines in this collection! Here are just a few:
• “The octopus is spooning sugar into his tea when there is a knock at the door.”
• “A hunter returns to his village one night with a severed human head in one hand.”
• “The young man has never been afraid of hats before.”
• “A man finds a fish in his teapot.”
• “A man is walking through the woods, when suddenly he sees Bigfoot.”
• “Two boys are walking home from school when one of them sees a drainpipe set back in the woods.”
• “The television thinks it knows better than the family that’s sitting there staring at it.”
• “A boy is playing hide-and-seek with his friends, when he slips and falls into the well.”
• “A duck fell in love with a rock.”
• “A woman and her friend are in a knife store.”
• “A man jumps off a cliff.”
• “A man finds something in his throat.”
• “A moose is standing in the forest when he suddenly hears a noise.”
• “A man moves into a graveyard.”
Adventurous dark fantasy connoisseurs should definitely seek out and experience this collection. Remember the name: Ben Loory – Ray Bradbury with a twist.
Paul Goat Allen has been a full-time book reviewer specializing in genre fiction for the last two decades and has written thousands of reviews for companies like Publishers Weekly, The Chicago Tribune, Kirkus Reviews, and BarnesandNoble.com. In his free time, he reads.
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