Entropic

R.W. Gray. NeWest (LitDistCo, dist.), $18.95 trade paper (180p) ISBN 978-1-927063-86-6
Gray's second collection (after 2010's Crisp) contains 10 stories, with only three having seen previous publication, and treads a fascinating line between realities, coming close to but never quite dipping its toes fully into surrealism. In "Blink," a man discovers his wife's editing suite, hidden in their apartment, with which she erases her flaws. "Beautifully Useless" follows a young man as he uncovers more of the mystery and vulnerability of his estranged father by watching a pornographic film he'd starred in some years prior. In "Mirrorball," two men, a former couple, encounter their doppelgangers, and begin relationships with their younger simulacrums. The powerful title story is an unsettling study of art, objectification, consent, ownership, and saying goodbye, as one man places his body under the care of another, to be put to sleep every night while a rotating queue of friends and family spend up to 40 minutes doing almost whatever they want to him—and with him—without consequence. Only "Sinai," the longest and most ethereal of the stories, feels strangely out of place in what otherwise is a tender, globetrotting, strongly visual collection. (May)
Reviewed on: 08/31/2015
Release date: 05/01/2015
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