Wednesday, October 12, 2011
REVIEW - Luca Veste's story collection LIVERPOOL 5
Luca Veste’s Story Collection
I bought Luca Veste’s story collection and intended to read it after two other books I had on my queue but I made the mistake of looking at the first page.
There went the ol’ queue! I couldn’t put it down. The very first story, “Dreams” was spellbinding—it just pulled me in and I was caught in the undertow. It was like taking a graduate course in philosophy, except it wasn’t delivered in dry, academic tones, but with a voice that grabbed me from the first sentence when it described an old guy sitting on a bench. Who can resist an old guy sitting on a bench? Maybe you can but not me. I always sit down next to such a person in real life and begin talking—the wisdom of the world resides in such people. And, so it was with “John.” The best stories always make one think. This one did… about my own dreams. A great story always poses more questions than it answers—they open up whole new worlds of possibilities. This one did just that.
The next story, “Model Behavior” was a complete surprise, especially the black humor ending. I’ll never look at Facebook the same way…
“Heavy Sleeper” got me immediately, beginning as it did with a character exactly like myself—my wife tells me the same thing as his wife did—that a bomb going off couldn’t wake him. Same here. As he says about any potential burglars, “I’d make the shittiest guard dog this side of Cerberus.” Guilty… And then it takes a monster turn that caught me completely off-guard! I won’t spoil it for you, but this one was my favorite.
Next up was “Peeling Spuds” and it’s my co-favorite of the collection. I love black humor and this was the blackest and the funniest. Veste also takes a female pov here and does it beautifully.
“He Ain’t Heavy” created a surreal, wonderful, wacko world, with an intellectual brother at odds with his thug of a brother coexisting in a criminal family. Like all of Veste’s stories, the reader is set up until we feel comfortable in the fiction world he’s created—and just when we’re at ease enough to put our feet up on the coffee table and sip the coffee he’s graciously provided… he blindsides us, sucker-punches us, knocks the crap out of us!
In all of his stories, I experienced a physical reaction akin to whiplash. I’m trying to think who writes better endings than Veste and I can’t think of anyone who does so as consistently.
I had one small problem with this collection. There wasn’t enough. I want more! The good news is there’s a rumor he has another collection about ready to go. Hurry up!