The Architect of Flowers

William Lychack, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt/Mariner, $14 trade paper (192p) ISBN 978-0-618-30243-7
Lychack's collection is a mixed bag of love and melancholy that too often buckles under the weight of nostalgia. In "Chickens," one of the collection's gems, a pregnant woman's whim to raise chickens plays out unexpectedly after all the chicks but one turn out to be roosters. In "A Stand of Fables," Lychak offers a cute story of a woman from the sea who rewards a luckless fisherman for throwing her back with a bounty of "tiny silver fishes" that spill from his boat to the sand of the beach "with the tinkling sounds of bright silver coins." But with such a slim and unvaried volume, the clunkers really stand out, marked by a monotonous self-consciousness that sometimes comes across, as in "Thin End of the Wedge," like a therapy session monologue. The reader gets the impression Lychack (The Wasp Eater) is still mastering his craft; when he's not overthinking or micromanaging his fiction, he really hits. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 12/06/2010
Release date: 03/01/2011
Open Ebook - 176 pages - 978-0-547-54777-0
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