Date read: 20 August 2017
Published by Penguin, September 2017
Verdict: Addictive, wonderful, quirky.
Ben Loory returns with a second collection of timeless tales, inviting us to enter his worlds of whimsical fantasy, deep empathy, and playful humor, in the signature voice that drew readers to his highly praised first collection. In stories that eschew literary realism, Loory’s characters demonstrate richly imagined and surprising perspectives, whether they be dragons or swordsmen, star-crossed lovers or long-lost twins, restaurateurs dreaming of Paris or cephalopods fixated on space travel. In propulsive language that brilliantly showcases Loory’s vast imagination, Tales of Falling and Flying expands our understanding of how fiction can work and is sure to cement his reputation as one of the most innovative short-story writers working today.
It took me about three stories to find the rhythm of Ben Loory’s cooky, brilliant, weird, wonderful writing style – then I stopped questioning what was happening and just went where his imagination took me – and I adored this. This collection of very short short stories reads unlike any I have read before and I absolutely, totally loved it. I sped through it in two sittings and then was a bit mad at myself because I made it end so soon – but the stories were so addictive! Thankfully he has written another short story collection that I will have to check out sooner rather than later.
Ben Loory tells stories reminiscent of fairy tales and fables but always with a twist. His anthropomorphic animals are a joy to read about and reminded me of my favourite stories as a child. He trusts his reader to just follow him and go with it and he absolutely managed to enthrall me. His stories are beyond weird but still somehow grounded in something humane and real even though they are super short and quick.
As I am finding out, I like short stories with a bit of weirdness and magic in them and these fit the bill perfectly. And when they are as exquisitely rendered as these are, then I am a very happy reader.
I received an arc of this book curtesy of NetGalley and Penguin Publishing in exchange for an honest review. Thank you so very much for that!