A History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters by Julian Barnes

God’s all-time bestseller, The Book, might be described (I wish to offend no one) as metafiction; it was written, divinely, by its main character, Who appears in various forms, at crucial cliff-hanger moments, as Himself. Unfortunately, so the story goes, God’s sixth-day creation, us — or more accurately our ancestors — made a muddle of His work, so God recruited Noah & Sons to cruise.

Mr. Julian Barnes launches A History of the World in 10½ Chapters (Knopf, 307 pages) with his own mock-knowing version of history, as reported by a wiseacre, truth-telling woodworm (baby termite?) stowaway, one of several who survived the trip. Why the need to sneak? Woodworms were not one of God’s chosen species, which leads Continue reading

The Death of Patsy McCoy by Levi Montgomery

“His death began the moment we saw him. It just took a long time to consummate that death. We began to kill him when we first saw him…”

The Death of Patsy McCoy (Inflatable Rider Press, 147 KB) is a story about a murder, but long before that, it was a story about suicide. The suicide of a small town, the suicide of a new kid seeking acceptance, and the suicide of five young men who would never be able to push aside memories left behind in their childhood, memories that are nothing more than the strewn wreckage of innocence gone lost. Continue reading

How to Survive a Natural Disaster by Margaret Hawkins

It’s unfortunate that “adult entertainment” has become synonymous with porn, because there’s a shortage of the real thing. By that, I mean books and films for grown-ups. Not only about sex, but about the multitude of other concerns that mature people care about. These people know that there is more to life than celebrities, shopping and getting skinny. Or having to choose between zombies and vampires.

Margaret Hawkins’ How To Survive a Natural Disaster (Permanent Press, 199 pages) confidently embraces this fact and offers a literary novel that is both Continue reading