Tunneling to the Center of the Earth
Kevin Wilson's characters inhabit a world that moves seamlessly between the real and the imagined, the mundane and the fantastic. "Grand Stand-In" is narrated by an employee of a Nuclear Family Supplemental Provider—a company that supplies "stand-ins" for families with deceased, ill, or just plain mean grandparents. And in "Blowing Up On the Spot," a young woman works sort...more
The stories veer from the vaguely fantasy/sci-fi (“The Grand Stand-In”, about grandparents for hire in the near future) to the creepy (“The Shooting Man”) to the Zen-esque calm of outsiders who struggle with identity (the isolative curator of “The Museum of Whatnot”). Wilson tends to share the per ...more
It really is. Wilson has a remarkable ability to get us into the heads of everyday people in surreal situations. A guy who works in a scrabble-piece factory, terrified that he will spontaneously combust, as his parents did. Ha ...more
Slight? Well, maybe more than slight. In most of these, he stretches the ordinary and part of the inherent tension is this: how far is he going to take this premise?
Next, Wilson adds a colorful, memorable character who accepts this alternate real ...more
If I were to compare, thought Wilson does not need to be compared, I would compare this collection to Etgar Keret's collections, perhaps The Girl on the Fridge. Sure, Wilson's characters are very in-the-m ...more
"Grand Stand In" -- This is the story of a woman who works for a company that pro ...more
This was an absolute GEM of a book for ...more
The key to thi ...more
And so it was.
We peeled around strange corners and squealed through peoples lives, odd characters I never would have met or even imagined in my own life, with my own imagination at the wheel. Smashing through their kitchen windows and listening in our their private conversations, voyeurs breaking the speed of dreams, I w ...more
Kevin Wilson is a genius. In this surreal anthology of wild short stories, he twists gut-wrenching bittersweet, hopeful, beautiful stories that just... I have no words.
Also, Go Fight Win is my favorite.:)
The characters are so relatable. In a strange way, I connect to their insecurities, fears, passions. So yes. In other words, go read. Get ready for your mind to be blown.
* (an acquaintance and an ex-boyfriend, in case you were curious)
Kevin Wilson is best known for his short stories, he is a simple yet immensely emotional and philosophical writer. Wilson's stories vary in age, in moral, in theme, and yet each of them is told in a very personal tone. He plays the role of the narrative extremely well, allowing the reader to experience, understand, and love the characters. All of his character ...more
Each chapter was its own story. Their sentences were very abrupt and not very ...more
At the start of the collection I wasn’t entirely w ...more
"Grand Stand-In" is narrated by an employee of a Nuclear Family Supplemental Provider—a company that supplies "stand-ins" for families with deceased, ill, or just plain mean grandparents. And i ...more
“I walk down the stairs, into the exercise room, where the Beamers are riding machines to infinity” (16).
“To unlock the potential power of the letter Q, one must learn quickly that there are other words to spell than those that have the standard qu structure like quartet and quality and queen. Qat, qaid, qoph, and faqir wi ...more
Each story, while quirky and occasionally surreal, is at its heart about bigger, more serious issues. One character is struggling to come to terms with his parents' recent death by spontaneous combustion, while working in a Scrabble tile factory. Another is a not-so-enthusiastic cheerleader, who befriends a 12-year-o ...more
My first exposure to author Kevin Wilson is a memorable one. He is OUT there! This group of short stories, selected by my book club, is wonderfully creative and bizarre. Some of the stories elicited a goofy grin. Others brought about a feeling of horror. Responding to an interview question at the back of the book, Kevin Wilson said, "The real trick is to embrace the ridiculous nature of the stories without making the concerns of the characters ridiculous." He accomplished this ...more
Many of the stories in this book seem to take George Saunders, particularly Saunders less plausible and silly stories from "In Persuasion Nation," and create a kind of genre out of them. In Saunders work I tend to get really taken in by his naturalistic stories set in plausible but bizarre real world situations, such as the title stories from Civilwarland in Bad Decline, and Pastoralia. When Saunders enters full satire-mode I find the broadness as ...more