Short is the New Cool: Four Collections That Use the Right Words

Jeff VanderMeer • May 20th, 2009 @ 3:23 pm • Book Reviews

(Seriously? You don’t have any of these? Okay, well, you’d better have started acquiring them by the time I get back from the gym, or I’ll beat the reading into ya…)

I just posted a new Omnivoracious feature on four excellent collections that I think deserve your attention, possibly even your love. I’d also note all four publishers produce excellent books in general.

Apparently, it was my week to read and then blog about it. Have I made up for the Godzilla poop post yet?


We Never Talk About My Brother by Peter S. Beagle (Tachyon Publications)
“…I kept remembering the pleasures of childhood reading of writers like Ray Bradbury, and in that sense, and being more or less of that generation, Beagle is a throw-back to the kind of iconic American storyteller whose writing reflected a kind of nuanced gentleness and nostalgia without being sentimental…”

The One Marvelous Thing by Rikki Ducornet (Dalkey Archive Press)
“…Her novels and stories often seem like an unholy amalgamation of Jorge Luis Borges and Angela Carter, but she is sui generis in her particular combination of passion and precision, the strange muscular delicacy with which she approaches her writing…”

Pieces for the Left Hand by J. Robert Lennon (Gray Wolf Press)
“…In writing interlocking vignettes set in a fictional upstate New York town he has created a kind of three-dimensional, modern version of Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities by way of Edgar Lee Masters’ Spoon River Anthology. By the book’s end, the reader has built up a complex and multi-faceted view of the town and the people in it…”

Tales of the Ten Lost Tribes by Tamar Yellin (Toby Press)
“…Yellin’s initial hard road to publication may have been due to the subtle way in which her fictions build from merely nuanced situations into passionate and complex narratives. They require your concentration and a certain stillness, and in this sense share some an affinity with the work of the sublime Marcel Proust…”

4 Responses to “Short is the New Cool: Four Collections That Use the Right Words”

  1. Terry says:

    I also recently reviewed Peter Beagle’s book: We had somewhat similar reactions, I gather.

    Must get hold of the other three — especially the Ducornet, because who could resist a combination of Carter and Borges?

  2. Larry says:

    Already have read and loved the Beagle and Ducornet books. That Beagle collection being sent to me is what finally got me to read some of his earlier work and I need to visit his other writings shortly, as it all was excellent. I liked how the Ducornet varied so much in style and presentation and the illustrations were excellent and I felt the graphic novel stories added to the book. Will look into the Yellin and Lennon shortly.

  3. Jessica Reisman says:

    I love Rikki Ducornet, though I’ve only read her novels.

  4. Hellbound Heart says:

    sounds like very worthwhile reads, now if i could only find the time to read everything that i’d like to read! busy busy busy…..

    peace and love…..

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