Darker with the Lights On

David Hayden. Transit, $15.95 trade paper (219p) ISBN 978-1-945492-11-2
The surreal and the mundane coincide brilliantly in Hayden’s inventive debut collection. The first story, “Egress,” follows a man who steps off a building through his yearslong journey to the sidewalk. In “The Bread that Was Broken,” a fancy dinner party centers its attention on a dead man, roasted whole in his sport coat on the dining table, a place card by his feet. The delightful “Reading” poses a man’s theory about the afterlife: a person is sent into the world of the last book he or she read. The man only reads books like Goodnight, Moon to ensure his own eternal peace, encouraging others to drop their business books and magazines. In “How to Read a Picture Book,” a squirrel named Sorry teaches a group of young children a few specific facts about books, telling them, “There are all those things that are right in front of you that you don’t recognise. Things or ideas or feelings that you can’t fit into what you know.” Hayden’s work is strange and at times disconcerting, but with touches of the familiar. This collection is a joy to puzzle over. (May)
Reviewed on: 03/19/2018
Release date: 05/01/2018
Genre: Fiction
Hardcover - 248 pages - 978-0-9957052-5-8
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