“Stories for Nighttime and Some for the Day” by Ben Loory (Penguin, 2011)

Stories for Nighttime and Some for the Day
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Authors have been going on some time now about the withering world of short stories, and how they’re not as popular anymore; not getting read, and are a dying art; Stephen King likes to remind his readers each time he publishers a short story collection.  Then again, short story collections from bestselling authors continue to get published and be popular, but then these volumes are pretty much guaranteed to be big sellers.  As for the collection of short stories from a lesser known author whose talent lies in this format, as opposed to the full-length novel, this certainly seems to be outside the sphere of popularity.  The likes of Ray Bradbury and James Thurber proved that incredible worlds and characters can be created in a limited number of pages, with a limited number of words.

Ben Loory is a fresh new author who proves in his debut collection, Stories for the Nighttime and Some for the Day, that he has the literary cojones to be shelved with some of the short story writing greats.  Loory has been published in The New Yorker, Gargoyle Magazine, and Antioch Review, and in this first book he presents forty short stories for readers to be swept away by.  While Loory’s stories are relatively short – some only a couple pages long – he nevertheless has a skill for creating a compelling story that leaves you wondering after you’ve finished it.  Loory’s stories have a way of hooking you in, with unpredictable events, so you really have no clue what is to happen next, and seemingly with some sort of hidden message that you take away from it, even if you’re not sure exactly what that message is.

Stories for the Nighttime and Some for the Day is dark and creepy, sunny and funny, happy and sad, moving and shocking . . . you’ll find yourself rooted in your seat, moving on to the next story once you’re done, wanting more, more, more.

Originally written on September 23, 2011 ©Alex C. Telander.

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