Animals in Motion

David Ryan. Roundabout (SPD, dist.), $15.95 trade paper (192p) ISBN 978-0-9858812-3-8
In his debut collection, Ryan explores the human psyche in 13 parable-like tales. In “Fidelity,” a man kidnaps his son from the boy’s mother and drives with him through the California desert, soon realizing that he has no idea of where he wants to go. “At Night” follows a former mental patient who routinely stalks a waitress on her way home and watches her as she sleeps. “Woman Descending” follows a man’s quest for peace in his new apartment, despite a next-door neighbor who never turns off her radio in a building locally famous for its many tenant suicides. In “The Bull Elk,” Ryan makes an unlikely messiah out of the title creature, and in “The Dogs” he turns two German shepherds into emblems of human loneliness. Ryan’s landscapes are carefully crafted to help frame his central concepts, while his animal characters serve as reminders that pain is universal. As a whole, Ryan’s collection triumphs as a spiritual and cerebral journey through oft-ignored parts of the human—and animal—psyche. (July)
Reviewed on: 05/12/2014
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