Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Why the Long Face? by Ron MacLean

Review is based on an ARC.

Why the Long Face is a series of short stories that view the normal through a haze. Reading reviews that cast this book as "eerie" and "surreal", I was quite excited to get started. As a longtime fan of eerie and surreal works, I was initially expecting something a little more overt. However, as I read on, I settled into MacLean's subtle approach to eerie and surreal.

The first story was, for me, a disappointment based on these descriptions because, although it arguably contains a ghost, it seemed to me a somewhat common foray into human loss.

The ensuing stories, however, were certainly more disturbing and were, after the first, a pleasant surprise. At times venturing into alternate realities, MacLean generally views ordinary life through unique lenses. A story here or there actually enters into the impossible, but mostly it is his perspective that we readers profit from.

I recommend to anyone, and highly recommend to fans of VanderMeer or Borges (with the reminder of MacLean's subtlty). I look forward to reading more MacLean.

FOUR of five stars.

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