Feb 28, 2010 04:34AM
My overall reaction to Greg Gerke's story collection, There's Something Wrong With Sven, is mixed. On the one hand, there are quite a few fictions here which are completely engaging and wittily entertaining and on the other hand there are quite of few which left me disappointed or just baffled. There is certainly an eclecticism in his writing which, in itself, is not a bad thing and I don't think the variety of modes he chooses accounts for the hit and miss quality of the pieces in the book. But the best stories here (e.g., "This is Where We Keep Vivaldi's Body" and "Laws of the American Middle West") show a terrific flair for absurdist irony and satire which reminded me at times of Barthelme at his best. Gerke's efforts are not helped by an unusually large number of printing errors such as ommitted words, etc., especially noticable in the first half of the book. 3/5 stars.
March 1, 2010 05:59AM
One Damn Thing After Another by Tim Hall: wickedly funny stories here. Hall engages in some of the best absurdist satire I've read in quite a while. The writing is brash, arrogant, clever and literarily well crafted. On the edge of being 5 stars. I'll definitely be looking for more by this author.
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