Give me books, fruit, french wine and fine weather and a little music out of doors. --John Keats
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
"When the Nines Roll Over & Other Stories" by David Benioff
Here's a collection of short stories I picked up at Books-A-Million probably a year ago. I figured it was about time I read it. It's not the book that has been in my TBR Pile of Doom the longest (I'm thinking that dubious honor would go to Cornelia Funke's Inkdeath) but I'm pretty sure it was second from the bottom.
1. The first story, "When the Nines Roll Over" is about selfishness and opportunism and the music industry. The whole time I was thinking, Something's gonna happen, something's gonna happen, something's gonna happen . . . but by the time I got to the end, nothing had really happened. My first thought was, What was the point of that?
2. "The Devil Comes to Orekhovo" follows a trio of Russian soldiers on a mission through the snowy Chechen countryside. This is the one that EW called "the best Hemingway story Hemingway never wrote," but I forgot to remember that while I was reading. Even so, I was impressed by the tangible and genuine setting (if someone who has never been to Chechnya can be a judge of this) and how the men lived and breathed. It felt as if the author must have been one of the three soldiers, although I'm pretty sure he wasn't.
3. "Zoanthropy." (By the way, this is a mental disorder in which a person believes that he or she is an animal. I looked it up before reading this one.) A bizarre story about an escaped lion in New York City and the Lover of the East Coast.
4. "The Barefoot Girl in Clover." I LOVED this story. It's like the beautiful, nostalgia-ridden song "Kiss Me" stretched in a thin veneer over a rancid pit of slime.
5. "De Composition." A survivor types in solitude in his bomb shelter and is horrified to find his com01puter has a virus. I would have edited out one paragraph that makes it all too obvious. OH HAHAHA I JUST GOT THE TITLE. DECOMPOSITION. GET IT?
6. "Garden of No." An aspiring actress finally gets her big break. I liked this one almost as much as Barefoot Girl. I'm not sure why I so enjoy reading about monstrously selfish people, unless maybe I see myself in them.
7. "Neversink" is about the rise and fall of a relationship, followed by the revelation of deception. It reminded me of the movie Closer. It's amazing how much can be packed into a short story.
8. "Merde for Luck." Kind of a horrible little story about crapping in your airplane seat and dying of AIDS. It's not as funny as it sounds. What's that? You're right, it doesn't sound funny at all. But it's another one that seemed so real I thought it could be autobiographical (though it's not).
Overall, it's a decent book of stories, but I certainly liked some of them better than others. I wish I could keep a few and give the rest away on paperbackswap.