Summer Reading – Short Stories by Ben Loory

Stories for Nighttime and Some for the Day
     Stories for Nighttime and Some for the Day          by Ben Loory

I found a review of this collection on Goodreads ; there were some vague references to Ray Bradbury and that was enough to pique (I always accidentally say this word as “pee-kew” instead of peak) my interest.

I became a fan of short stories about three years ago when I first came across Dandelion Wine and The Martian Chronicles. Discovering Bradbury’s collections are what spurred me on to attempt some writing of my own moreso than anyone else I’ve read. It was after reading “The Veldt”, “There Will Come Soft Rains”, “The Fog Horn”, and the list could go on forever I realized that being a “real writer” didn’t mean only churning out Dead Russian-sized perfect novels. It was liberating to experience a complete story encapsulated in such a small package.

It’s been a good year for short story cycles. First there was James Franco’s Palo Alto: Stories which I reviewed here. And then this collection jumped across my radar and I flipped.

Readers, meet Ben Loory. A man who has written a little bit of everything in almost every genre that counts. Mostly short stories from what I’ve seen so far. And it’s obvious that this dude was paying some sort of homage to Bradbury. Loory’s collection features angsty teenaged extra terrestrials, man’s search for meaning in an alienating environment as well as giving face to some of the things modern man fears the most: chaos.

I greatly enjoyed his short stories. One of my favourites was about a man who experiences a great adventure when he illegally gets his hands on a medieval sword. The rest of his life is spent pining after that experience and he loses his wife, his friends, and eventually his sanity.

Another that stood out greatly to me featured a skeptical man desperately trying to understand God. His story does not end happily either.

It’s a tragically sad collection. Only a few of the stories have what you could typically call a “happy ending”. Which might be why I enjoyed the collection so much. It’s nostalgic in a way that makes you wonder at the plausibility of nostalgia. The stories are rife with a realistic magic that’s not interested in making the main characters happy. It made me think of a child approaching the world with wide eyes, only to discover that the paint has faded, and what looked fabulous only seconds before has turned into some drab sideshow.

I wholeheartedly endorse this book. Especially if you feel as though you don’t have time to read. A collection of short stories is a great way to get back into the swing of things. They’re sort of connected, usually by theme rather than characters, and broken down into bite-sized chunks perfect for a half hour’s rest.

Again I apologize about yesterday. Look forward to my unabashed celebration of Ray Bradbury’s career tomorrow.



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