Dec 05, 11
Read from November 28 to December 04, 2011
This is a tidy collection that takes readers from the Midwest to the Middle East. Almond creates believable settings (an airport, a restaurant, a graveyard, etc.) and places unique characters and situations in those places for an almost surreal effect.
My favorite is “Not Until You Say Yes,” in which a boy traveling alone lures an aging airport security guard to pose as his grandmother so he can get bumped from flights and pocket the vouchers. In “Tamalpais” an inexperienced busboy helps a drunken and distressed woman through a difficult and awkward night. “A Dream of Sleep” juxtaposes life and death, youth and age, past and present, black and white, money and poverty all in the setting of a graveyard.
In these and other stories, characters make the most of unfortunate, awkward or depressing situations, and Almond leaves them changed and ready to face the next step. These characters are not sad or pathetic but a little weird, somewhat flawed and very often funny. In other words, they’re human.