Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Buy This Book: Ben Loory's strangely cool "Stories for Nighttime and Some for the Day"

Okay, I have no idea how to sum this up except to say that I stood on a kitchen chair for about an hour yesterday, watching a walking stick amble slowly along the angle where the wall meets the ceiling, and every once in a while he'd reach out and grab a little bug -- sometimes a bug too small for me to see -- and he'd devour it and amble on again. It was completely bizarre and beautiful and engrossing, and the experience of reading this book was pretty much just like that.

Here's a bit from the first story, "The Book":
The woman returns from the store with an armload of books. She reads them quickly, one by one, over the course of the next few weeks. But when she opens the last one, the woman frowns in surprise.

All the pages in the book are blank.

Every single one.

The woman takes the book back to the store, but the manager won’t let her return it.

Right there on the cover, the manager says, This book has no words and is non-returnable.

The woman is angry. She wouldn’t have bought the book if she’d known there were no words inside it. But the manager simply will not relent.

The woman leaves in a huff.

She throws the book in the trash.

A few days later, the woman sees a man reading the book on the subway. She gets mad; she screams across the crowded car--

There are no words inside, you can’t read it!

But the man is defensive.

You can pretend, he says. There’s no law against pretending.

I think there might be words if you look at it under a special light, says a woman sitting nearby.

This other woman is holding her own copy of the book.

That’s so stupid! the woman yells. Don’t you see how stupid that is? Don’t you see that’s crazy?

At the next station, a policeman is called and has to break up the fight.

A television crew arrives on the scene.

The woman is interviewed on the news.

She complains loudly about the book for some time.

The next day, the book appears on the bestseller lists, under both fiction and nonfiction...

Visit Ben Loory at The Nervous Breakdown to read the rest of this story, and yeah. Buy this book! It's just a little bit of crazy awesome. And then buy it for someone else and make them wonder about you.


Colleen Thompson said...

This sounds really cool. The octopus tentacle/spacey cover doesn't hurt either! Nor does the fact that the title reminds me of one of my all-time favorite books of short stories, Isaac Asimov's NIGHTFALL AND OTHER STORIES. Off to download the Kindle sample and see if it's for me!

Kathryn Paterson said...

Boy is that cover fun! If you at all like that, Colleen, you might like Donald Barthleme's Forty Stories (if you haven't run into it already over the years). Trippy and cerebral in the best kind of ways. :)


To subscribe to BtO, click "Subcribe to: Posts" at the bottom of the page and then "Subscribe to this feed."

Want to borrow a cup of content? Feel free to share our link or a brief quote with your friends. But please e-mail for permission to reprint or repost our work elsewhere, and always add an attribution and a link back to our site.

We welcome your feedback. Feel free to post comments. PR and outreach from publishers and published authors should be sent to:

Boxing the Octopus: all content copyright 2008 Colleen Thompson and Joni Rodgers all rights reserved.

We welcome payola in the form of pies, cakes, neatly folded laundry and free books!

In accordance with FTC regulations, we're required to inform readers that we receive books from publishers, authors, and PR folk for review. We'd like to receive money via an offshore bank account, but that hasn't happened yet. When my dad was in radio back in the '50s, a local baker used to sneak over in the dead of night and fill the back seat of his car with bread and pastries. We would NOT object to this. Please review our review policy here. And let us know if we should leave the car outside the garage tonight.

Peace, love, and statutory compliance ~