My review of Ben Loory’s Stories for Nighttime and Some for the Day ran today in the Boston Globe.
It’s a lightweight collection of short stories, and a lot of fun. Loory’s writing is very spare, but loaded with meaning and portent. He’s a writer of crisp, surreal fables, each of which has a distinct undercurrent of dread just lurking beneath the surface. In the review, I call Loory a mix of Lydia Davis and H.P. Lovecraft, but he has a strong, humorous voice that is entirely his own. I think it’s telling that one of the laudatory blurbs on the back of the book comes from Edward Packard, creator of the Choose Your Own Adventure book series. I’m part of the generation that grew up reading those books, and I think that, to some extent, they probably shaped my expectations of literature and what I think is possible in writing: experimentation with form, structure, and the active engagement of the reader. Loory is smart to associate himself with Packard and his series, both for the cute nostalgia it evokes and the implications it makes about his own work.