cover image Misadventure


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%E2%80%94both gay and straight%E2%80%94interact 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%E2%80%94with one, "Labor," clocking in at just over 50 words%E2%80%94yet characters and protagonists routinely carry emotional weight. While Grider may rely too much on nontraditional story structures%E2%80%94indexes, a single sentence, a quiz, lists of facts%E2%80%94the collection is nevertheless vital. (Feb.)