Mother Ghost

Casey Hannan. Tiny Hardcore (www.tinyhardcorepress.com), $13.95 trade paper (132p) ISBN 978-0-98356-257-3
"I'm Pith like ‘pithy,' like ‘succinct,'" begins the aptly-named narrator of the opening story of Hannan's debut collection. Both the actual book and the individual stories—many of which focus on the ambivalent relationship between a young gay man and his mother—are small, but they pack an intense emotional punch. These tales are not for the faint of heart. Hannan leads the reader down a dark, occasionally surreal road, where startling snapshots of human strangeness await those brave enough to follow. Even as gay stories—sexual exploration, coming out, familial homophobia—have increasingly become part of the larger narrative canon, Hannan has created his own lexicon of recurring symbols: ghosts, blood, ominous strangers, snakes, dogs, deer, horses, all of which have their own personal meaning, located somewhere beneath the surface, communicated in whispers that feel confessional and imperative. In these stories set on suburban porches, in kitchens and bars, fields and museums, a vague danger lurks everywhere, and although the characters may appear unperturbed by the occurrence of sudden violence, the philosophical and emotional impact is not lost on the reader. With intricately crafted, delicate yet jarring language, Hannan presents a vision of the world that is wholly original and enthralling. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 04/01/2013
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