The Miniature Wife and Other Stories

Manuel Gonzales, Author
Manuel Gonzales. Riverhead, $26.95 (320p) ISBN 978-1-59448-604-3
Reviewed on: 10/22/2012
Release date: 01/10/2013
Open Ebook - 304 pages - 978-1-101-60204-1
Paperback - 304 pages - 978-1-59463-227-3
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It’s rare that a debut author is also a seasoned storyteller, but this is the case with Gonzales, whose first book is a deeply imaginative collection of short stories. With commendable skill, Gonzales seamlessly blends the real and the fantastic, resulting in a fun and provocative collection that readers will want to devour. A child born at 10,000 feet on a hijacked plane retraces the same route around Dallas for “according to our best estimates, around twenty years,” destined to follow this path forever, in “Pilot, Copilot, Writer”; and a man who works as a miniaturizer mistakenly shrinks his wife into a pint-sized but plucky foe in the title story. Gonzales delights and bends the mind with stories featuring a horror movie cast—zombies, in “Escape from the Mall”; the swamp monsters and robots of “Life on Capra II”; and a werewolf on a mission to eradicate any trace of his prior humanity, in “WOLF!” The mixture of the mundane and the surreal is hardly new, but Gonzales carries it off with a fresh voice. A quiet pathos spans the collection, and a well-timed glibness injects these stories with an undercurrent of dark humor. A surprising, delightful, and slyly didactic debut. Agent: PJ Mark, Janklow & Nesbit. (Jan.)
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