This debut story collection from Canadian poet Malla (All Our Grandfathers Are Ghosts) is a disappointing assemblage of pieces from a writer who has not yet found his voice. The mishmash of styles ranges from nearly Victorian ("The Love Life of the Automaton Turk") to kitschy postmodern ("The Film We Made About Dads"). Several of the stories have undeniably empathetic characters, especially the nine-year-old girl who narrates "Pushing Oceans In and Pulling Oceans Out"; suffering from OCD, she lives with her mentally retarded brother and their single father, who masturbates to porn films after the children are in bed. At times, Malla's heavy-handedness feels cynical, as in "Respite," when the story's theme is literally delivered via a tossed wedding bouquet that lands squarely on the plate of the narrator's cranky and uninterested girlfriend. But even given so many of the pieces' dramatic premises, Malla chooses the road of obfuscation, too often denying the reader crucial information. (Apr.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
The Withdrawal Methodby Pasha Malla
Pasha Malla knows joy in all of its weird, unsettling, and wondrous forms. In their humor, warmth, and rigorous honesty, his stories clearly capture something odd and beautiful: the unmistakable feeling of empathy. From young couples fighting through the emotional trauma of the modern world to children navigating wayward, forbidden paths of a fantasized
Pasha Malla knows joy in all of its weird, unsettling, and wondrous forms. In their humor, warmth, and rigorous honesty, his stories clearly capture something odd and beautiful: the unmistakable feeling of empathy. From young couples fighting through the emotional trauma of the modern world to children navigating wayward, forbidden paths of a fantasized adulthood, Malla presents characters deeply entrenched in the familiar and hearts that slowly open to reveal the pain and unexpected love that life accumulates.
The Withdrawal Method offers worlds where Niagara Falls has run dry, where people’s skin can be shed in a single piece, and where ancient frustrated chess masters invent machines that unexpectedly alter the course of history. Reminiscent of Lorrie Moore, Haruki Murakami, and George Saunders, these stories are haunting, captivating, and constructed with a poise and precision that reach beyond technical skill.
Malla’s is an assured new voice; his smooth, mature style is punctuated by bursts of wild humor and enlivened by endlessly inventive storytelling. As individual narratives, these stories speak to each side of the protean human psyche, but when taken together they address with full understanding the fragility of our lives.
- Soft Skull Press, Inc.
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- 5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.10(d)
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