You’ll not have a long face after reading this new collection on Swank Books by my good friend Ron MacLean, past winner of GQ‘s Frederick Exley Award, and recurring Pushcart nominee. In some short story collections, one senses the author has come upon a style, a voice, a central theme that all suit him–and then mainly offers a series of variations on those. Not here. As noted short story writer Ralph Lombreglia (Men Under Water, Make Me Work) observes on the back cover, this collection “pushes the boundaries of what a short story can be.” Does everything work completely? Maybe not. But Ron’s creative restlessness and deep empathy are contagious.
… Gertrude Stein and Buffy (yes, that Buffy) show up at a Las Vegas wedding. A young daughter seems to defy gravity–as does later (in probably my favorite story) a dresser. A library of toast; an art exhibit of plastic pigs. A sleepy trucker hauls a load of pecans, dreams about a baby, talks into a tape recorder about black holes. Angels and archeologists sift through rubble. And one of the best descriptions of faith you’ll ever see, as “a loving, steadfast response to what God brings your way.”
As always we urge you to buy independent. You can buy the book online at Powell’s. Or go to any independent store that has an account with Small Press Distribution (if your local bookstore doesn’t, ask why: they give hundreds of small independent presses a fighting chance to get their books noticed)–in Los Angeles that would be Skylight Books in Los Feliz.