Stories for Nighttime and Some for the Day
Ben Loory

Penguin Books
Hardcover/244 pages
ISBN: 978-014311950-0
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". . . a refreshing treasure."

A journey into Ben Loory’s unearthly imagination, “Stories for Nighttime and Some for The Day, ” is startling. Loory fabricates an outlandish abnormal world in 39 compressed short stories, fables and parables with themes that are familiar, stark and sometimes humorous which Loory says are laced with fear and desire.

In the story “In the TV and Winston Churchill,” a TV decides to no longer to show family football games,game shows and soap operas, “so the family takes it to the dump.” After awhile the TV “gets up and waddles down the street,” creating its own opera. The strength of his stories is vividness without extraneous details.

In the fable, “The Octopus,” the creature lives in a city apartment and collects spoons. He explains to his visiting nephews that he can live forever if he doesn’t return to the sea. “Is it true?” they ask. The only way to tell “for sure is to stay here and find out,” he responds.

Many of the stories are of supernatural dreams where people, or inanimate objects are running and chasing through an exaggeration of time and motion: A boy stuck in a tunnel, another boy falls in a well and flies out, and in “The Rope and the Sea, ” a boy and girl, after a dream, journey back to the sea where earlier they pulled out two dead bodies.

Each tale is peculiar, distinctive and surprising, suitable for rereading, as a different time or a particular situation may prompt a different perspective or emotion, humor or panic, such as confronting a moose head hanging on the wall of an explorer’s wall or viewing a shield in a museum. It’s simply amazing how much drama Loory is able to pack into just a few pages that makes his book a refreshing treasure.

Reviewer: Kate Padilla