cover image Demons in the Spring

Demons in the Spring

Joe Meno, Author . Akashic $24.95 (272p) ISBN 978-1-933354-47-

Spanning worlds, generations, cultures and environments, each of Meno's short stories in this stellar collection explores depression, loneliness and insanity in the world, while never quite offering a clear solution or glimmer of hope. Misery loves company, and Meno's assortment of off-center, morose characters fit seamlessly together. Even with their almost kitschy specificity, stories such as “I Want the Quiet Moments of a Party Girl” and “Art School Is Boring So” never become pretentious or unnecessarily complex. Meno plays with supernatural elements throughout the collection, and his risky moves—such as having a protagonist turn into a cloud in “People Are Becoming Clouds” or a woman whose insides are overrun by a miniature city in “Airports of Light”—always pay off. Each story is illustrated by a different artist, from Schizo series cartoonist Ivan Brunetti to the husband and wife duo kozyndan, known for their depictions of modern cityscapes. Catering to all the odd men out in the world, this short story collection succeeds word to word, sentence to sentence, and cover to cover. (Aug.)