Postmodern Deconstruction Madhouse
by Peter Quinones

"He would be the first to tell you that he could make no sense of human nature. Theories? Something for classrooms. Psychology? Please. An abstraction. A lounge conversation."

This fellow can write. His sentences illuminate the screen of an e-reader like neon against wood paneling. His vocabulary runs the gamut from obscure antiquity to verbose hyperventilation to graphic street speech. He breathes flesh and blood heartbeats and brainwaves into intellectually agile characters that wrestle as competitively in coffee shop conversation as they do in sweat-soaked battles between the sheets—though surprisingly for this day and age, he mostly alludes to the latter while dramatizing the former.

His collection is broken into seven sections. The first three could probably be labeled short stories yet they come across more as mental x-rays of individuals making their way through city life and quasi-romantic relationships. While his New Yorkers vary in age, income, and social status, they all have individual needs for something approaching togetherness within the isolation of their particular environments. They also differ greatly in emotional medication needed plus dosage required to deal with commitment and responsibility in a world seemingly grappling with the present day value of each.

There’s a bit of a whodunit that’s perhaps more about what-the-hell-difference-does-it-make. There’s a section that delivers multiple one-sentence short stories. There are random notes on critical observations about Shakespeare’s Macbeth. There’s even the beginning of a potential romantic tale that segues into literary and film criticism of various authors such as Ross McDonald and Irwin Shaw, then circles back to the original story that begat the whole exercise.

This book is probably not for those seeking traditional storytelling, but if your tastes run to exceptional writing as energetic as it is engaging, fasten both your fiction and nonfiction seat belts and come along for the ride.

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