When the teller of this story of stories rolls out in the first line of the first page, Pretend you are my sister, you suspect youre in the hands of yet another delightfully manipulative Southern storyteller, which Douglas A. Martin certainly is, but it does nothing to prepare you for a seeming jumble of herky-jerky sentences, half-expressed back and forths, pesky digressions and episodic little gemlits about growing up at the tail-end of the Tobacco Road Erskine Caldwell carried us careening down seventy years ago.
I can sympathize with peoples pains, but not with their pleasure, said Aldous Huxley, author of the 1932 novel, Brave New World. There is something curiously boring about somebody elses happiness.
The best story in Dont Cry, Mary Gaitskills latest short story collection, is the title story. Had it appeared first rather than last, her readers might have been eager for the stories that followed.
Invisible, the latest novel from Brooklyns prolific Paul Auster, is deftly plotted and compulsively readable.
While Greg Amess novel, Buffalo Lockjaw, contains all the elements of a classic Buffalo storysnow, sports, drinking, despairAmes has created a narrator, James Fitzroy, who rises above caricature.
Christine Lehners third novel, Absent a Miracle, is witty, warm, and funny. It successfully blends several different kinds of fiction, echoing (without aping) Anne Tylers beautifully observed tales of domestic life, Junot Diazs creative use of Latin American history and myth, and Jane Smileys avid depictions of sex and the human body.
Kristina Riggles debut novel, Real Life & Liars, is full of unlikable characters who think and speak in clichés.