by Adam Levin
The first story in this collection (“Frankenwittgenstein”) grabbed me, so I decided to check this out from the library and spend more time with Levin’s short stories.
I think most people make the David Foster Wallace comparison based on Levin’s novel (which I haven’t read) but I can see it in his stories, too. I can also see some Saunders (especially in that first story) though less so. Which isn’t to say Levin just sounds like other people — he has his own voice, and like so many other writers and artists you can sense a bit of where he comes from.
The stories feature the unexpected (bam, a character is hit and killed by a bus), the strange (gel keeps oozing from a crack in the wall in a new house), and the gritty (huffing teenagers, a girl who likes to get hit) but nothing is played for shock value. Levin clearly appreciates that any day or perhaps any one of us has inner freakshow elements. From precocious teen to earnest soon to be dad, Levin has a knack for creating the sane and the insane internal monologue.
If you like your short stories a little but not a lot on the edgy side, you’ll probably like this book. If, on the other hand, internal thought processes that might disturb you if you recognize them in any way are going to ruin your day, skip it.