Love Among the Particles

Norman Lock. Bellevue Literary (Consortium, dist.), $14.95(285p) ISBN 978-1-934137-64-2
In his newest collection, surrealist storyteller Lock (Pieces for Small Orchestra & Other Fictions) ob-sesses over the dreamscape of the past, composing stories that are enticingly and enigmatically rele-vant for the present. Lock focuses on where the popular lore and the technological anxieties of the Gilded Age interweave: Edward Hyde's voice recorded on Edison's phonograph, the Mummy invited to California to oversee the technical details of a horror movie, a steward lost on ship laying the trans-atlantic cable. For a reader in the digital age, these moments may seem familiar: a crowd cheering the appearance of the director of railroads parallels our own pop culture adoration for pioneers in mobile technology. Although by the end Lock catches up to the 21st century, the majority of this collection seems an experiment to help him come to terms with the digital age, a motif he confronts in the final three narratives. Regardless of motive, these humorous, imaginative meditations on the nature of dreams, time, and space shimmer in their own darkness. There is some danger in Lock's prose as it nears ponderousness in its extreme patience, but reminiscent of the plays of Samuel Beckett, there is a wealth of insight here. (May)
Reviewed on: 05/20/2013
Release date: 05/01/2013
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