The author asked me to review this collection of short stories in return for a copy of the book. SIDENOTE TO MY INDONESIAN STUDENTS. The author sent me a paper copy of the book. This is not easy in Indonesia; the book saw more of Indonesia than I have seen so far as it wound its way through several provinces before arriving in Malang, Jawa Timur. On the good side, the stories so impressed my son that he carried a copy to his classes. The stories were so weird in a horror (not sexual) way that his teachers were not equally impressed; they thought it was a waste of reading time. I disagree. Read everything. Read all the time.
Beasts by Brendan Dezner
This interesting collection of short stories defies attempts at a comprehensive “book” review. There are stories which are quite intriguing, which I liked, and a couple that left little to no impression other than a feeling of wanting to get to the next story. A feature I liked was that several did not end; the reader was left to imagine what would happen or the reasons for what was presented. This is a good book to carry along and read for diversion while getting on with daily routines. Here are snap impressions of the stories.
In the Fall: One of the best, a creepy story about the relationship of a girl and a tree. The Chupacabra: This is the only one I wanted to end soon. Just couldn’t connect to it.
Spirits of the Wind: If you ever felt tow truck drivers are not of this world, here is confirmation.
A Day and Two.. Nikki wants to come back. Watch out for elderly, other worldly enforcers.
Pizza Time: There is a story of a vulgar, potty-mouth parrot.
I-65: Some bartenders are more than friendly listeners.
Two Nights Only: There is a finite number of times you can irritate mommy.
PCBF: Like hearing annoying, repetitious jingles, you won’t forget what these initials stand for after reading this story.
Wetwork: The second story I could not connect with (there are no more).
The Envelope Job: I think this is the second best tale. Lots of parts to it. Mysteries within mysteries, there is a lot of room for the reader’s mind to roam.
Ebb Tide: Are there two lovers here, or four? And where are they now?
The Gardener Estate: An unforgettable comparison to Hugh Hefner is made here.
Blue Eyes: A different slant on S & M stories.
The Specimen: OK, but predictable. A “Planet of the Apes” story.
Shadow: I have no idea what happened here, but the storytelling was great. My third favorite.
The Walk Home: A very depressing story of a dysfunctional family. I am glad it was the last story of the collection.
So, out of 16 stories, only two that I considered time wasters. I look forward to reading more from this writer.