Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Miracles and Conundrums of the Secondary Planets

A visitor from a distant planet opens a Latvian restaurant next to an abortion clinic; a magician learns that true love will cost him a kidney; a blind barber cuts hair for tourists in a gentrifying Harlem.... Enter the mad, moving university of Jacob M. Appel's short fiction.

Jacob M. Appel has done it again with another mind-blowing book of short stories. His imagination is astonishing, producing ingenious writing with a smattering of bizarre. Not every tale will be your favorite, but the odds are you will like more of them than not also the degree of uniqueness that they contain keeps them lingering with you for awhile. I found myself rethinking about the perceived message the author is providing me, the reader with and the different ways it could be construed. Therefore, each reader will read the same story yet interpreting it in another way.

There is a total of eight completely different stories, though each story is short each is complete with a beginning, middle, and an end. The prose always flows smoothly in each tale. As each story has a different plot you will have a large spectrum of emotions that will fill this book also; everything from comedy, hope, charmed, tragedy, and scads more. I am sorry to say that I can not find anything negative to say about this book.  My favorite story is Invasive Species and so I will follow up with a quote from that:

“Celeste sits in self-imposed rigor mortis: eyes clenched, fists balled, teeth locked in a ghoulish grin. She is bundled into a wool sweater - a single, hard-fought concession to the exigencies of being alive.”

Thank you, Jacob M. Appel, for letting me give an honest review

Jacob M. Appel's first novel, The Man Who Wouldn't Stand Up, won the Dundee International Book Award in 2012. His short story collection, Scouting for the Reaper, won the 2012 Hudson Prize. He has published short fiction in more than two hundred literary journals including Agni, Conjunctions, Gettysburg Review, Southwest Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, and West Branch. His work has been short listed for the O. Henry Award (2001), Best American Short Stories (2007, 2008), Best American Essays (2011, 2012), and received "special mention" for the Pushcart Prize in 2006, 2007, 2011 and 2013.

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