Look! Look! Feathers

Mike Young, Word Riot (www.wordriot.org), $16.95 trade paper (200p) ISBN 978-0-9779343-6-2
Young hits the mark in this smart, quirky debut collection, where base humanity—like the macho behavior of a high school gym teacher who is revealed to have only one testicle in "The World Doesn't Smell Like You"—is juxtaposed against a crushing swell of technology and pop culture. Social media, brain-Internet browsers, and reality television all feature in Young's stories, and institutions like the 24-hour grocery, the "old hotel on Mason Street," and Facebook are venues for Young's twisted tales. In "Mosquito Fog," two online companions arrive at an awkward moment when widower Russell discovers his online confidante, contrary to her online profile, is not his contemporary but a teenage girl. The couple at the center of "Snow You Know and Snow You Don't" slowly reveal in a letter to their unborn child the strange way they cope with a domestic tragedy. Meanwhile, in "No Such Thing as a Wild Horse," the transformation of a local fun park "from something rinky-dink into something grand" is held up, albeit wryly, as a beacon of inspiration. This is a slick collection—relevant, wise, and immensely enjoyable. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 11/08/2010
Release date: 12/01/2010
Genre: Fiction
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