Sally's Reviews > Blood and Soap: Stories

Blood and Soap by Linh Dinh
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's review
Mar 08, 2014

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The stories are quick as bullets, many of them more allegory than traditional-short-story per say. Despite the length, this isn't something you want to breeze through -- it's something a reader would want to examine in microscopic detail. The logic and flow of the words on the page is enough to mesmerize and startle -- the events and characters often surprising.

These aren't just run-of-the-mill quirky characters, these are storybook characters whose motivations are often mysterious, but fascinate the reader (Ex: Prisoner with a Dictionary, in which a prisoner becomes obsessed with the dictionary of another language, and Stewart Crenshaw, in which a white man in the Civil War Era decides to enslave himself). Some of it is grotesque, involving no shortage of violence. The most prominent thread of this collection is the contemplation on language--the nature of words, translation, what gets lost, and the powers and failures of language, especially English. The voice in the stories is blunt, matter-of-fact, side-splittingly hilarious, sardonic, and at certain key moments, revelatory. Killer.
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