Sunday, September 13, 2009

Bad Monkey by Curtis Smith.

If you are a geek reader book-loving fanboy type, is there much better than stumbling into a book you know little to nothing about, by an author you're not so familiar with, sorry Curtis, and then encountering so many unexpected pleasures while reading said book? No, not so much. Sure hitting the Sizzler with Jim Carroll or Lynda Barry would be quite cool, but few things are better than the unexpectedly pleasurable book-reading experience. Which is our way of saying that the short story collection Bad Monkey by Curtis Smith is all that. Early on it seems to have a violent Little Odessa thing going for it, but that's not really what's happening here, yes, there is violence, but there is also pathos, sadness and triumph too. In fact, it took us a little while to see how these pieces hang together overall, but then it hit us, collectively these are stories about family, how we make them, how they implode and how no matter what we just want to hold onto them in some fashion despite what common sense ought to be telling us. We should add, that something else hit us as we read it as well, ultimately, the writing here just feels mature, mature like Alice Munro feels mature, or Tommy's ghost cousin Jimmy Keefe on Rescue Me seems so mature, all lived-in and rich and nuanced. There's a lot of craft going on here, and we hope you take a look, it just might change your life.

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