A Boy’s Book of Nervous Breakdowns

Tom Paine. Louisiana State Univ., $22.50 (160p) ISBN 978-0-8071-6124-1
As the title of Paine’s (The Pearl of Kuwait) story collection suggests, one of the consistent themes is the protagonists struggling to escape the dire situations in which they find themselves. The polished, poignant gem, “Fukushima Mon,” finds the Jamaican Eri, a General Electric consultant and “workaholic” employed at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, dispatched to Tokyo by the plant manager Masao to check up on his young daughter, Himamari. She sings in a reggae band called Fukushima Mon and resents her father’s overprotective intrusion until the catastrophic tsunami hits, and the reactors have a meltdown. The tense, harrowing “Hotel Palestine” follows the tribulations of the American journalist Ann Prendergast and her spunky interpreter Leyla during the 2003 capture of Baghdad. “The Southern Strategy” centers on the strange odyssey of an Occupy Wall Street protester. The bookend stories “Marlinspike” and “It Was Just Swimming” feature more offbeat tones and quirkier characters. Paine’s stellar collection offers readers a transporting experience. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 08/03/2015
Release date: 10/01/2015
Genre: Fiction
Open Ebook - 160 pages - 978-0-8071-6125-8
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