Half as Happy

Gregory Spatz. Engine Books (Consortium, dist.), $14.95 trade paper (384p) ISBN 978-1-938126-09-3
The solid “Any Landlord’s Dream” demonstrates the precision of Spatz’s prose and his eye for detail in this modest collection of eight tales of loss. A couple, Seamus and Carolyne, nearly destroyed by the loss of their son and “contemplating the ruin of a life together,” want to rent a house away from their proper home; the author sketches the characters with economy and insight (Carolyne recalls meeting Seamus, who stood out from the “boy-men whose eyes promised tormenting affection and eventual desertion”). The story is extremely well crafted and, in its voyeuristic landlord, at times creepy. In “Happy For You,” an older woman takes a late-night call from her grown son, who wants recipes, and the memory of food fills her mind as she examines her life. Noting that life unfolds randomly, she still holds that the “instinct underlying belief and order, though, the needs for it, this could not be random.” Randomness is also at the heart of “Luck,” a story about a family on an Alaskan cruise. The father, a pompous businessman who views himself with a mixture of self-pity and self-loathing, watches his wife mindlessly play the slots. Spatz (Inukshuk) writes like a dream, and he is perfectly at home with the focus on the self, the search for a personal truth, and other tropes of contemporary literary fiction. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 03/04/2013
Release date: 04/01/2013
Genre: Fiction
Ebook - 188 pages - 978-1-938126-03-1
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