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Demons in the Spring

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Overview


Demons in the Spring is a collection of twenty short stories by Joe Meno, author of the smash hits The Boy Detective Fails and Hairstyles of the Damned,  with illustrations by twenty artists from the fine art, graphic art, and comic book worlds--Todd Baxter, Kelsey Brookes, Ivan Brunetti, Charles Burns, Nick Butcher, Steph Davidson, Evan Hecox, Kim Hiorthoy, Paul Hornschemeier, Cody Hudson, Caroline Hwang, kozyndan, Geoff McFetridge, Anders Nilsen, Laura Owens, Archer Prewitt, Jon Resh, Jay Ryan, Souther ...
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Demons in the Spring

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Overview


Demons in the Spring is a collection of twenty short stories by Joe Meno, author of the smash hits The Boy Detective Fails and Hairstyles of the Damned,  with illustrations by twenty artists from the fine art, graphic art, and comic book worlds--Todd Baxter, Kelsey Brookes, Ivan Brunetti, Charles Burns, Nick Butcher, Steph Davidson, Evan Hecox, Kim Hiorthoy, Paul Hornschemeier, Cody Hudson, Caroline Hwang, kozyndan, Geoff McFetridge, Anders Nilsen, Laura Owens, Archer Prewitt, Jon Resh, Jay Ryan, Souther Salazar, Rachell Sumpter, and Chris Uphues.

Oddly modern moments which occur in the most familiar of public places, from offices to airports to schools to zoos to emergency rooms: a young girl who refuses to go anywhere unless she’s dressed as a ghost; a bank robbery in Stockholm gone terribly wrong; a teacher who’s become enamored with the students in his school’s Model United Nations club; a couple affected by a strange malady—a miniature city which has begun to develop in the young woman’s chest, these inventive stories are hilarious, heartbreaking, and unusual.

Joe Meno is the best-selling author of the novels Hairstyles of the Damned, The Boy Detective Fails, How the Hula Girl Sings, and Tender As Hellfire. He was the winner of the 2003 Nelson Algren Award for short fiction and is a professor of creative writing at Columbia College Chicago.

*A portion of the author's proceeds from the book will go directly to benefit 826 CHICAGO, a nonprofit tutoring center, part of the national organization of tutoring centers with branches in San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York City, and Seattle.*
 

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Editorial Reviews

Jeff Turrentine
The strongest stories in this collection…don't try too hard to dazzle with formal virtuosity but let Meno slowly pull his characters out from their own peculiar inner worlds into the one we recognize, for better or for worse, as the "real" world. Loss seems to be the lingua franca that unites these souls; Meno's sympathy for them is acute, and he never lets fictional pyrotechnics blind him, or us, to their humanity.
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly

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.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Library Journal

A girl will only go out in public dressed as a ghost. A zookeeper sets the animals free. A wife becomes a cloud when her husband kisses her. A girl lives her life as a "Choose Your Own Adventure" book. The only elephants left on Earth are miniatures kept as pets. The moon stops glowing. A city grows in a woman's chest. Odd as these scenarios may seem, Meno renders them not just plausible but indicative of deeper truths within and between people. His prose can be very spare and direct to great effect. "Apples are kissing other apples. Gray cats are kissing other gray cats. Trees are kissing trees. You and I are not kissing. We work in an office together." It can also be complex and luminous but never flowery. As he demonstrated in his earlier collection, Bluebirds Used To Croon in the Choir, Meno knows just how to press a variety of emotional buttons ranging from giddy delight to not-quite-hopeless despair. Highly recommended for all public and academic libraries.
—Jim Dwyer

Kirkus Reviews
An inspired collection of 20 stories, brilliant in its command of tone and narrative perspective. Among the features that distinguish the latest from Chicago author Meno (The Boy Detective Fails, 2006, etc.) are illustrations for each story by a top graphic artist (Ivan Brunetti, Charles Burns and Archer Prewitt among them). Another plus: Some of the proceeds will help support 826Chicago, a tutoring center for student writers from the McSweeney's magazine combine. Creativity and empathy mark the collection. Most of the narrators (and/or protagonists) are misfits at odds with the world or with themselves-brothers involved in complex relationships; lovers who have yet to consummate their affairs or have become estranged; kids misunderstood or misused by adults. They often reveal more to the reader than they know about themselves, as they struggle to learn, as one wife tells her husband, "how to be happy in a world that isn't as good as you think it should be." The most astonishing story is "Airports of Light," in which a woman's malignant tumor is depicted as a city growing inside her, one where her lover can travel if he's willing to abandon the world he knows. Another standout, "The Unabomber and My Brother," mixes fact and fiction, while the elliptically rich opening story, "Frances the Ghost," about a "small, strange girl" who is both very precocious and very disturbed, shows how Meno's tales reveal themselves gradually, in stages. Titles tell the tales: "Miniature Elephants Are Popular" features pets the size of tiny dogs, "Art School Is Boring So" offers the ruminations of a student who "hates mass production but . . . secretly likes Britney Spears." "What a Schoolgirl You Are"addresses the reader as a teenaged girl and "Oceanland" details the world's most decrepit family theme park. Two of the shorter stories, "The Boy Who Was a Chirping Oriole" and "Iceland Today," read more like postmodern gimmicks, but even here Meno is never less than amusing. Illustrations enhance the already vivid storytelling.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781936070091
  • Publisher: Akashic Books
  • Publication date: 8/1/2010
  • Pages: 280
  • Sales rank: 1,383,424
  • Product dimensions: 6.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author


Joe Meno is the best-selling author of the novels Hairstyles of the Damned, The Boy Detective Fails, How the Hula Girl Sings, and Tender As Hellfire. He was the winner of the 2003 Nelson Algren Award for short fiction and is a professor of creative writing at Columbia College Chicago.
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Table of Contents

Frances the Ghost 13

Stockholm 1973 25

An Apple Could Make You Laugh 45

It Is Romance 55

The Sound before the End of the World 69

Animals in the Zoo 85

People Are Becoming Clouds 91

Ghost Plane 99

What a Schoolgirl You Are 109

Miniature Elephants Are Popular 121

The Boy Who Was a Chirping Oriole 131

I Want the Quiet Moments of a Party Girl 135

The Architecture of the Moon 153

The Unabomber and My Brother 167

Art School Is Boring So 191

Oceanland 205

Get Well, Seymour! 225

Iceland Today 241

Airports of Light 253

Winter at the World-Famous Ice Hotel 263

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Customer Reviews

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