cover image The Mechanics of Homosexual Intercourse: Stories

The Mechanics of Homosexual Intercourse: Stories

Lonely Christopher, Akashic, $15.95 trade paper (190p) ISBN 978-1-936070-80-0

For all their postmodernist touches, the nine stories in poet Christopher's provocative and refreshing debut collection offer coherent plots and accessible prose, starting with the long title tale, about the efforts of a guy named Dumb to forget his dead boyfriend, Right, as he embarks on a new relationship with a person called Orange. In "Game Belly," which charts the night moves of club kids, characters are identified not by name but by brief tags like "the kid with long hair." "White Dog" finds menace in a woman's not so mundane trip to the supermarket. The supershort "Milk" plops a horse into a kitchen. With a lot of alternative fiction, one gets the feeling that the writer's rejection of traditional forms isn't earned; not so with this author, who's also a librettist and playwright. More Russell Banks than Donald Barthelme, Christopher could write solid, naturalistic stories if he chose, and he almost does. (Feb.)