The Littlest Hitler: Stories

Ryan Boudinot, Author . Counterpoint $22 (215p) ISBN 978-1-58243-357-8

Boudinot proves himself a twisted, formidable storyteller in his dark and surefooted debut. In the title story, fourth-grader Davy, with his father's assistance, dresses up as Hitler for Halloween ("I had gotten the idea after watching World War II week on PBS"), but realizes his terrible judgment after an encounter with a classmate dressed as Anne Frank. "On Sex and Relationships" brims with irony as two yuppie couples get together for dinner; the evening is banal enough—board games, nostalgic chitchat—but festering rivalries, buried secrets and bitterness color the evening and threaten to sink the narrator's relationship with his girlfriend. In "Civilization," teens of the future receive "duty papers" when it's time to kill their parents, so as to be accepted into college. Despite his parents' encouragement to kill them ("Don't let your nerves get to you!" reads a Post-it his father sticks to the refrigerator), narrator Craig has his reservations. Reminiscent of early Rick Moody or the short stories of Daniel Handler, each of Boudinot's 13 stories is a microcosm of weirdness imbued with imagination and maniacal wit. (Sept.)

Reviewed on: 06/05/2006
Release date: 08/01/2006
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 216 pages - 978-1-58243-380-6
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