Large Animals

Jess Arndt. Catapult (PGW, dist.), $15.95 trade paper (144p) ISBN 978-1-936787-48-7
Arndt’s short stories are delicious flights of fancy, or obsession, or fertile curiosity—or, more accurately, some beguiling combination of all three. All 12 pieces in her debut collection are written in the first person. It could arguably be the same narrator in each, perhaps the author herself—or not. Often the stories seem to end abruptly, albeit usually meaningfully. “La Gueule de Bois” riffs on a trip to Paris, “the city whose sole monument is a comically upturned syringe.” “Jeff” features a brief encounter with Lily Tomlin. “Can You Live with It” juxtaposes musings on Raskolnikov and Crime and Punishment with a kind of pub crawl through various colorful bars. “Moon Colonies” explores tacky, yet strangely beautiful Atlantic City: “In the morning the waves glowed like uranium, a deep sweat coming up off the seafloor.” In “Third Arm,” which is full of puckish phrases—“the gag of cars,” “a pudgy dark had descended”—the narrator feels herself at odds with her rebellious body. And in “Together,” the longest and most plot-driven story, a couple contracts a mysterious malady that slowly breaks them apart. This is a playful and provocative collection, full of sly, deft turns of phrase and striking imagery. (May)
Reviewed on: 03/06/2017
Release date: 05/01/2017
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Open Ebook - 130 pages - 978-1-936787-49-4
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