Karen Brennan. Four Way (UPNE, dist.), $17.95 trade paper (208p) ISBN 978-1-935536-79-6
Brimming with real and imagined monsters, Brennan (The Garden in Which I Walk) delivers striking meditations on memory, time, fragility, and strength. In the title story, a father visits his impaired daughter and her roommate, who resembles a giant field mouse. In “10 Birds,” the narrator wakes to find the bedroom invaded by a bevy of doves. “Pete, Waste Lab Technician,” centers on a fearless morgue custodian plagued by roving shadows and a group of chatty zombies with a penchant for theoretical physics. There is a compelling conflict that unifies these stories. As one of the many nameless narrators explains, “There’d been a time, I felt certain, that duplicated this time, but was not remembered.” The narratives dwell in stark duality: the endless duplication of life, and the temporal condition of shared existence. The majority of the characters in this book speak of routine, predictable occurrences. But these tales—some less than a page—are not conventional; they’re beautifully strange and often surreal. Brennan introduces fantastical elements that dramatically transform relatable characters and familiar settings into something new, like a family adopting a talking cat. Brennan’s collection of compassionate and intelligent fiction is a showcase for a very skilled author. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 08/29/2016
Release date: 09/01/2016
Genre: Fiction
Open Ebook - 208 pages - 978-1-935536-91-8
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