cover image I Survived Caracas Traffic: Stories from the Me Decades

I Survived Caracas Traffic: Stories from the Me Decades

Richard Grayson. Avisson Press Inc, $21 (139pp) ISBN 978-1-888105-04-9

Social tropes and individual types from the ``Me Decades'' (here, really just the late 1970s and early '80s) run through Grayson's eighth story collection. The stories are riddled with self-absorbed baby boomers, T-shirt slogans, Henry Kissinger, silicone implants, Saturday Night Live, the AIDS crisis, quarreling roommates and psychotherapists. Most are written in a flat first-person, but in others Grayson (Lincoln's Doctor's Dog) shows a sense of humor and an appreciation of the weird. The costs of survival in the AIDS retrospective title story, and the isolating entropy of depression in ``Where the Glacier Stops,'' manage to imbue their drained narrators with some emotional weight. On the whimsical side, ``Twelve Step Barbie'' sees the doll in a midlife crisis, and ``A Clumsy Story'' artfully diagrams and parodies MFA-quality fiction. But whatever Grayson's approach-whether the troublesome roommate is a Wisconsin Lutheran (``My Plan to Kill Henry Kissinger'') or the Pontiff (``With the Pope in Park Slope'')-most of his characters carry only a faded familiarity, not an invigorating shock of recognition. (Feb.)