A short five-star book review from El Dink The UK EBook Magazine
Reviewer: Barry Purcell
Implosions of America: Nine Stories
by David Biddle
This book is nine short stories full of desperate, confused middle-aged men who want to have sex with younger women, who miss the thrill of new love, and who suspect something is deeply wrong with their essentially uneventful lives. Nine thoughtful stories revolve around the broad theme of mature love and if you’ve ever loved anyone, and then loved someone else, you’ll identify with most of the narratives.
In each story, there is a man called Wendell. He’s a different person each time, but he represents the same thing: what we might consider the “straight man”, the guy to whom things happen, and who is the “normal” one by the standards of the story. In each story there is a girl called Angeline. She’s a different person each time too, but she also represents the same thing: the thrill of a new sexual encounter, the one who got away, the fake promise of finally being happy, or a memory of what you thought the ideal woman was at a certain point in your life, “the elusive sex object/love interest – the secret beauty, the cause of everything mysterious and deadly.” She weaves in and out of the stories, seducing characters, and occasionally the reader (me) into wondering what this book would be like if it was about her instead.
Each story has a metaphor embedded in it, sometimes superficially, like a failing houseplant which represents a failing relationship, but sometimes it’s subtle, like as a woman with a hearing problem who won’t “listen” to reason. It’s all handled very well, and if you don’t get the metaphor, it’s not going to spoil your enjoyment of the story.
There are some very minor spelling and punctuation errors, but nothing that should prevent you from buying this book. The language is terse but effective. Nothing kills a short story like long, descriptive passages. You won’t find them here, and that’s a good thing. A good writer should be able to tell you everything you need to know to put together a mental image of a situation, a person, a thing, in a few words. Make no mistake: David Biddle is a good writer. You can find Implosions of America as an ebook at almost any major online bookstore. To purchase it as either an ebook or paperback, please go here [for the UK version].
This review was posted originally at El Dink UK on December 18, 2012.