Bad Things Happen

Kris Bertin. Biblioasis (Consortium/Perseus, U.S. dist.; UTP, Canadian dist.), $14.95 trade paper (202p) ISBN 978-1-77196-054-0
In this excellent debut collection of 10 stories, men and women are caught at precipitous crossroads in their lives. In the title story, two teenage girls break into a local heartthrob’s home to discover he’s not at all what they expected; in “Your #1 Killer,” a mother learns of her mendacious son’s true calling as a master exterminator. “Make Your Move” and “Everywhere Money” play with structure in interesting ways: the former includes multiple endings as if life were a noir-ish choose-your-own-adventure tale; the latter details in similar fashion the many ways in which people convince themselves to walk away from a life. “Is Alive and Can Move” and “The Story Here” both deal with perspectives in transition. In the first, a recovering alcoholic becomes convinced the college building in which he works as a janitor is alive and is physically moving and changing of its own accord; the second, the most affecting story in this collection, focuses on one woman’s awareness of her own family’s history as her father’s many divorces are contrasted with her dreams of the end of the world. This is a forceful, well-written collection with breadth of imagination—at times melancholy but never depressing. (July)
Reviewed on: 05/02/2016
Release date: 07/01/2016
Ebook - 224 pages - 978-1-77196-055-7
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