“The stories in Ken Nash’s brilliant collection The Brain Harvest lay bare the sparks and idiosyncrasies of an exceptional mind. Each new story is distinct and memorable in its jewel-like compactness, and the characters we meet are unique and endearing. In subject matter, the stories weave and delve into continuously unexpected territory; from the alien adventures of Emily Dickinson, to the intricacies of bespoke basket-making, time travel, orchestral garden plots, and the great green sea lizards that haunt our parents’ dreams. Nash’s playful and quick-witted style bears echoes of maverick American greats like George Saunders and Donald Barthelme, and recalls the quirkiness of Miranda July. Taut, intelligent, eccentric, and wholly engaging, The Brain Harvest is a wonderful debut for a very talented new writer” (Clare Wigfall, author of The Loudest Sound and Nothing and winner of the 2008 BBC National Short Story Award)
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About the Author
Nash is also an illustrator, animator, musician and video artist. His cartoons and illustrations have appeared in numerous publications throughout the world.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The first thing to be said for Ken Nash, the author of THE BRAIN HARVEST, is that he has wit. That is, he’s both intelligent and funny. He offers up a sense of humor that’s a pleasure to enjoy, ranging as it does from dry to wry to slapstick to tongue-in-cheek. The book itself consists of 32 short stories, most of them very short indeed, with only a couple reaching 1,000 words. I am somewhat reminded of the humorous scenario sections in Reader’s Digest magazine, though Nash’s short shorts would most certainly never pass muster in that conventional white-bread venue. Because unconventional is what Nash is. Or quirky, eccentric, avant-garde, fantastic… take your pick. Take, for example, his story “Canasta for Beginners,” one of my favorites. I’m hard-pressed whether to describe it as Kafkian or Borgesian, though either will do. That is to say, the story is offbeat, the sort of narrative that entertains while making the reader think. It’s a verbal puzzle in it’s own way, a bit of an Escher drawing in words. And so it goes, story after story, for 163 pages, making THE BRAIN HARVEST a very nice bargain and a perfect addition to the bedside table. In fact, that’s a great place to read it, at bedtime: short original pleasures before sleep, full of images bound to stimulate curious dreams.