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Shadow Traffic

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  • Posted October 27, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Twelve Uniquely Creative Stories: The Mind of Richard Burgin

    SHADOW TRAFFIC is such a perfect title for this collection of short stories by the highly regarded writer Richard Burgin: these tales are like the conjurings of things that happen deep within our minds, not ready or felt apropos for communicating with strangers. Yet reviewing a collection of this sort seems almost unfair to the potential reader who will enter Burgin's world because giving even the most brief outline of a story just might spoil the effect of experiencing it first hand on the written page. Burgin seems to be in touch with the acidic relationships between men and women and nowhere is this more evident than in the acerbic story 'Do You Like This Room?' - an apparent early dating situation where the man and the woman exchange rather superficial conversations until some of the subcutaneous facts come to the surface and the result is near Hitchcockian. Or read 'Memorial Day' and be caught up in the geriatric swimming pool arena where thoughts of a man drift toward what may have been the distant past, or the very distant past that leaves him quite alone with the other gomers. 'Single Occupant House' lifts the curtain of the story in the opening paragraph: 'I would have stayed in the other place longer but the false teeth in the bathroom upset me. It was like walking along a beach looking for shells and suddenly seeing a dead lobster. A bad sign, a bad omen, so I knew I had to quit the house and go to the other I'd been considering on Silver Place. I couldn't even remember now why I hadn't gone there before and wondered what that said about me.' Now try to resist following this character's path into the rest of the story! There are portions of comedy and portions of the bizarre and strange in Burgin's stories. And just when you think you will be able to imagine the ending of the next story, up pops his ingenious surprise of a conclusion. He is entertaining, he makes us think, and he makes us keep the light on ... Grady Harp

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