Interesting and creative ideas, though not very well fleshed out and become very plot driven.
What a curious collection of stories! They are a fun way to spend some time but near impossible for me to describe, ineffable. I had to resort to reading passages out loud to anyone inquiring as to what I was reading.
Aimee Bender's stories certainly contain a surreal touch; her first collection reads like a series of quick dreams ranging from disturbing to funny and entirely disregarding the laws of reality.
None of Bender's characters appear whole. Her cast includes an imp, a mermaid, a man with a soccer-ball sized hole in his stomach, a girl with a hand made of fire and another with one made of ice. Even those who seem realistically human carry deep voids, such as a librarian who fulfills the fantasies of several male patrons until she meets one whose extraordinary feats of strength finally exposes her emotional pain. In a line that applies to all the stories, the librarian acknowledges that "it's hard to tell the difference between fantasy and reality."
These odd, rambunctious, and startling stories won't please the literal-minded but they will charm those who like their short fiction with an irreverent edge.
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