And Go like This

John Crowley. Small Beer, $25 (328p) ISBN 978-1-61873-163-0
A compassionate, ruminative eye frames the sepia-tinted worlds of the fifth collection from erudite fantasist Crowley (Ka). The stories are drawn from the last 20 years of Crowley’s long career and span the breadth of speculative and literary short fiction. Standouts include the Bradburyan “The Girlhood of Shakespeare’s Heroines,” which laces together the Shakespeare authorship question, a 1959 Shakespeare festival, and the compromises of disability into an emotional bomb; the perspective-bending “In the Tom Mix Museum”; and the collection’s original story, “Anosognosia,” which deepens a classic Twilight Zone–esque second chance into a humane examination of its own tropes that shakes the fourth wall. Weaker entries struggle to outgrow their concepts: “And Go like This” reduces a massively overpopulated New York to a punch line; the commentary on education and nostalgia at a future Yale falters into stereotype in “Spring Break.” However, Crowley’s overall style is utterly engrossing, with prose that treats a sun-washed rural road or a software box with the honor and admiration due a sacred relic. This collection’s recurring refrains—“pay attention,” Shakespeare, injuries and aging, the agony of making choices—coalesce into a reading experience like a long afternoon spent with an intimate, excellent raconteur. Agent: Howard Morhaim, Howard Morhaim Literary. (Nov.)
Reviewed on : 04/30/2019
Release date: 11/01/2019
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror
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