The Sadness of Whirlwinds

Jim Peterson. Red Hen, $17.95 trade paper (272p) ISBN 978-1-63628-009-7
Peterson (Paper Crown) suffuses this enchanting if opaque collection with references to television and literature. In “The Code,” John, a recently retired widower, takes a detective novel to a restaurant. After dinner, he can’t find his wallet and hides out under the booth with his book; the night ends with a noirish encounter between John and the proprietor. In “Go Get the Gun,” a terrified Angie implores her unnamed husband to get his gun after she hears a sound in the night. He is dismissive of Angie’s fear until she threatens to divorce him, and soon they witness a bloody scene on the patio. The dreamlike “The Mandy and Andy Show” portrays a man named Andy’s strange encounters with his neighbor, Hank, on the morning after a party. For some reason, Hank thinks Andy’s name is Fred, and Andy realizes he hasn’t seen his wife, Mandy, since the night before. He goes to the park, where he finds Mandy talking with another man. As the married couple catches up on the previous evening, they pitch ideas for a TV show about themselves. The stories can be tough to follow, but Peterson’s lyrical descriptions nicely evoke his characters’ blended sense of fantasy and reality. These entries are consistently alluring, even when readers can’t be sure where they’ve been taken. (Nov.)
Reviewed on : 09/07/2021
Release date: 11/01/2021
Genre: Fiction
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