Ghost Engine

Christian TeBordo. Bridge Eight, $16.95 trade paper (200p) ISBN 978-1-7323667-3-2
TeBordo (Toughlahoma) throws readers for a loop in this dark and stimulating collection. The collection begins with realistic stories such as “Bear Country,” in which a dad enjoys terrifying his toddler with costumes, and “American Family Robinson,” about a family that remains in their home during wildfires only to have their young daughter run away, never to return. But as the collection continues, the absurd takes hold. In “Ghost Engine” and its later connected stories “Myth of the Myth of Sisyphus” and “Return, Return,” Frag and Watt work to bring the ghost engine, some sort of mysterious metaphoric machine, back to life, eventually carving out their own organs and placing them in the machine to animate the silent bulk of metal parts. In “Whose Bridesmaid?” music drives listeners to either extreme violence or extreme veneration. In “This House Is not a Mansion, God Is Not a Ghost,” a man punishes himself, as he believes God wants him punished, by cutting off his own limbs one by one. While TeBordo’s stories range from realism to abstraction, they share similar themes of lost faith: in God, in humankind, in one’s self. There’s a sense of the insignificance of humans, of a lack of control in a world of harsh realities, and of an endless search to connect to anything or anyone. This serrated collection excels at knocking readers off-balance. (Nov.)
Reviewed on : 09/12/2019
Release date: 11/01/2019
Genre: Fiction
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