Friday 25 May 2007

How the Dead Live by Alvin Greenberg

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketPublished by Graywolf Press

Alvin Greenberg brings us a collection of short stories which, while often morbid, are always brilliant. There are 15 tales in all. In How the Dead Live we find Feidelman, a man who at first appearances, seems to have it all. When a mugger attacks Feidelman, the mugger is the one in fear. In The Life of the Mind we find Bill who ideally would love to be a vampire, and who has a dislike of mirrors and the backs of heads. Those who care about him struggle to try and understand.

No Loose Ends brings us Henry and Malvina, two people who are as opposite as can be and we get to witness their strange and often confrontational dynamic. This particular tale has a fantastic way of playing with the reader some and almost seems interactive. My favourites along with those already mentioned, are Found, Tremors, The High Hard One and A Couple of Dead Men.

What I loved about the stories within these pages, is that the author doesn't provide tidy stories. You won't find the usual tales in which every loose end is covered and the reader is provided with all the answers they could hope for. What you will find, are stories which seem almost fractured at times. The beginnings often don't feel that way and the endings, well, the reader will be left with more questions than answers but that made me adore this collection all the more.

It inspires, it teases the imagination, it provides much food for thought and I have to admit that I found myself reaching the end of some of the tales with a strong urge to put pen to paper and write something about the characters. I didn't of course, but I found it wonderful that I felt that way.

This is my first experience with this author and I will be looking into his other titles.

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