Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Human Fly and Other Stories

Three of the next four books I'm going to review are collections of short stories which is just crazy. This is crazy for two reasons. First, I really have never enjoyed short stories. They usually leave me feeling unfulfilled. To me they are usually short because whatever is being written about isn't interesting enough to merit being written about or they are good but could stand to be developed into something more than a short story (a novel or at least a novella).

The second reason this is crazy is that they were all good. Perhaps this isn't so crazy because all three collections are by authors who wrote novels that I would rank among my all-time favorites.

The collection I'm writing about today, The Human Fly and Other Stories is by T.C. Boyle. Yes, I felt enough time had passed since I read The Women, to give it a shot. It did not disappoint. I was surprised to find it on the Young Adult shelf at the library and was even more so once I read it. Sex and violence are the main reasons. I guess I have too much 1950's in me. I don't know. All the main characters either are teenaged or are reflecting on their teen-age years. The stories have a wide array of topic matter: a competitive-eating contest, two teenagers who kill their newborn baby, a high school football player in his last game who is coming off of a 56-0 defeat, a teen visiting Jack Kerouac's house on Christmas Day, and many more.

The stories are all sort of off beat, written beautifully, and impressively complete. They have tidy endings. I'm not left wanting more or thinking the story was a bunch of hooey. If you want to try out T.C. Boyle's writings and don't want to go through a 400+ page novel, you can't go wrong getting your exposure to him with this book. It's also under ten bucks new online which to me is just a phenomenally cheap price for a writer of Boyle's caliber.

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