Cynthia starts selling her eggs around the same time her mother’s cancer relapse.
(from The Secret Society of Demolition Writers)
“I’m twenty-one, sun sensitive, my skin as white as milk in a blue china cup.”
I liked it. I mean, early on, parts of this story are awkward — the phrasing, the askew observations. But it’s just enough to keep you off kilter. And it’s building to something inventive and memorable.
It’s funny, even those occasional stilted phrases were also neat, tactile or visual images like in the quote above. It’s not a sentence, strictly speaking, but it gets it all across and stimulates the senses. Cool story.
Why don’t I know who wrote this? Because while we know who wrote the stories in The Secret Society of Demolition Writers, we don’t know who wrote what. It’s a mystery you can let go or puzzle over. I think I shall puzzle. The choices are: Aimee Bender, Benjamin Cheever, Michael Connelly, Sebastian Junger, Elizabeth McCracken, Rosie O’Donnell, Chris Offutt, Anna Quindlen, John Burnham Schwartz, Alice Sebold, Lauren Slater and Marc Parent, who is also the editor. Hm. When I’m through the book, I’ll take some guesses as to who wrote what.
The point of this collection, according to Marc Parent’s intro, is not to play an author-to-story match game, but to create an environment of fearlessness for the author. “Released from the constraints of your reputation and the expectations that come with it, how far would you go?” he asks. That said, he welcomes the readers to pin the bylines on the stories, but warns that the authors have been deceptive on purpose, perhaps imitating their peers within the collection. Doesn’t exactly sound fearless, but hey.
Here’s hoping Rosie O’Donnell’s is some kinda fiery masterpiece. Why? Because I like underdogs, and an author better known for slinging koosh balls has something to prove.
The Hold Steady, “Multitude of Casualties”