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None of This Is Real

4.26 of 5 stars 4.26  ·  rating details  ·  35 ratings  ·  7 reviews
NONE OF THIS IS REAL imagines a not-too-alternate reality of philosophical children, reincarnating chimeras, mutant matriarchies, and kind seers adapting to affliction. These five fictions question what is knowable and what actions can be taken in the face of loss — of family, heritage, ecosystems, agency, and power. A face incapable of masking its sneering rebellions; you ...more
Paperback, 115 pages
Published 2012 by Sidebrow
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A really remarkable book that pairs a couple of longer narratives with some slightly shorter narratives. The stories themselves are kind of what I've taken to calling "sidescroller naratives," that is, stories where things happen and then other things happen, followed by other things, but rarely with an overwhelming sense that things are going anyplace in particular. Along the way, though, is all the fun, as increasingly wonderful and strange things happen, along with often very witty asides, li ...more
These stories are delightful. I feel like they were written just for me, for my interests and sadnesses and neuroses. Maybe this is why they seem uncanny.

Here are a few bits from "The Coffee Jockey," in which a barista's back goes out while she's making coffee, causing an extraordinarily long line to form, the line becoming a sort of institution:

"The coffee jockey bent over to get some lids and her back went out. She couldn't move, nor could she speak. People in line just waited and sighed and l
“Truly, a person may become an abyss: I felt it happening to me…” says the narrator of “Face,” the opening story in Miranda Mellis’s None of This is Real, a collection that like the line itself invites the reader to enter identity as shape shifter and narrative as potentially infinite transformation—to fall into the groundlessness of the world. ...

See my review at

Lighthearted and dark. Kind of absurdist, kind of intense innervision, these stories are really enjoyable. There are two longer pieces which are naturally denser though still taking part in a fanciful modern world that are the bulk of the book. The shorter pieces are quick reads (even in 2012) yet still carry a good punch.
This is an awesomely bizarre adventure of almost-true stories that happen in a reality just outside our own. They make one laugh, sigh, and endear you to characters you recognize, but just barely. Think of it as the world on the other side of the mirror, but with an Alice In Wonderland twist. Good good stuff.
Steve Owen
It's like this book was written for me.
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