Nicholas Grider. A Strange Object, $14.95 trade paper (168p) ISBN 978-0-9892759-3-4
In this debut collection from writer and artist Grider, men—both gay and straight—interact through sex and violence, exploring the trappings of modern life. The title story is about a man who is grieving for a pair of lost friends, yet is obsessed with their deaths. Likewise, "Within Reason" describes a brief encounter at a party between two men and a pair of handcuffs. And in "Escapology," a reporter finds himself physically aroused while trying to break out of a pair of handcuffs on television; in "Clean and Friendly," a wife is too afraid to question why her husband comes home covered in blood; and "Nightfall" floats for a moment in the mind of a man unsure of the world after his partner is randomly attacked. These stories are short—with one, "Labor," clocking in at just over 50 words—yet characters and protagonists routinely carry emotional weight. While Grider may rely too much on nontraditional story structures—indexes, a single sentence, a quiz, lists of facts—the collection is nevertheless vital. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 12/23/2013
Genre: Fiction
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