Sunday, November 11, 2012

Review: Pirate Therapy and Other Cures

Pirate Therapy and Other Cures
Pirate Therapy and Other Cures by Mark A. Rayner

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Book Info: Genre: Humorous short stories
Reading Level: Adult
Recommended for: Canadians; those who enjoy surreal short stories, fans of Rayner’s blog

Disclosure: I picked this book up on Amazon when I noticed it one day because it sounded like something I would enjoy. I am reviewing it because I want to. All opinions are my own.

Synopsis: Ever wondered what might happen if your therapist was replaced by a pirate? Or how disquieting it would be to receive postcards from your future self? If William Shatner was elected President of the United States, what would his inaugural address sound like? Mark A. Rayner tackles these, and stranger, questions in his collection of short stories, essays and flash fiction that thrum with the absurd and hum with alienation, all to a humorous beat. Jesus contends with dinosaurs. Marcel Duchamp describes what happens to a Dadaist who has a monkey's tail grafted to his butt. Whether he is explaining how Anne of Green Gables destroyed the world, or outlining Thor's new PR strategy, Rayner entertains with wit, humor and an imagination that is one step short of certifiable

My Thoughts: I found this book on Amazon awhile back. Some time later (days? weeks? I don’t quite recall) the author contacted me about reviewing The Fridgularity. Once I accepted that, I decided to read them one after another, since I like to sample as many of an author’s books together as I can. I really enjoyed the author’s style in a full-length novel and wondered how that would transfer into shorter fiction.

And, well, to be honest, I prefer his longer stuff – it gives him more room to play. Don’t get me wrong – there are some real gems in here – but the short nature of them doesn’t let him have quite as much fun (it seems) with the ideas before time is up, you know? I did really enjoy General Kang – some of the best quotes in the book come from General Kang – but since this is flash fiction, I’ll be keeping out any quotes to avoid spoilers. The Viking version of Pastafarianism was hilarious, too.

A lot of this comes from his blog and other on-line sources, so many of these pieces you can find if you do some serious searching, but it’s easier to get it all in one place, don’t you think? Anyway, a lot of this stuff tends toward the obscure and surreal, but it was an enjoyable read overall. I, for one, prefer what he is able to do with longer works, but this is a great way to get introduced to his style.

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