Jennifer Spiegel's Reviews > Understories

Understories by Tim Horvath
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Jul 02, 12


I just spent some great time reading Tim Horvath's collection, UNDERSTORIES. I haven't done one of my entirely unorthodox book review-thingies on my blog in a while, and I wish I had the time to devote myself to convincing you to give this one your full attention.

So, here's a moment. Allow me to emphasize that it needs attention. I needed to read it carefully, attentively. First, Horvath knows how to write one kick-arse sentence after another. These are sentences to read aloud, to get the feeling of them rolling off your tongue; they're complicated but well-executed from beginning to end. That's just his sentence structure. Second, and I think everyone is saying this, the stories are so imaginative/inventive/fantastical/dystopian, etc. The city with films projected everywhere got me the most, until I read about how people inexplicably blew up into smithereens during tense conversations, with only a trace of mint in the air suggesting impending violence. Wow. Third, Horvath's prose is smart. I like smart fiction. I'm just impressed by philosophical astuteness in fiction. Fourth, if I were teaching my dream one-year-long fiction seminar, I'd like to end with Matt Bell's first book, and this one. I don't write like this at all. I don't do this stuff, but I know this: it's important. It speaks of the role of fiction, the development of literature. There. Get this book.
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