cover image Stories for Nighttime and Some for the Day

Stories for Nighttime and Some for the Day

Ben Loory. Penguin, $15 trade paper (208p) ISBN 978-0-14-311950-0

The 40 cheerfully ominous stories in this collection feel like collaborations between Tex Avery and Franz Kafka. Each starts with a surreal premise%E2%80%94a man notices a strange hat staring at him, a duck falls in love with a rock, etc.%E2%80%94and sidles along from there. By itself, each sketch is tantalizingly incomplete, but that uneasy wonder is part of Loory's purpose. When these pieces work, as they often do, they invite readers to develop the idea themselves, to use their own imaginations to flesh out characterizations and consequences. Reading several stories in a row might mitigate some of the individual impact, but together they provide a series of glimpses into a world in which all manner of disturbing discoveries and transformations are possible. (Aug.)