The twelve pieces in A Very Small Forest Fire demonstrate the stylistic diversity of Worthington's prose and depict the anxieties and conflicts of contemporary capitalism, the timeless depths of individual despair, the everyday disasters that we often forget, and the general societal obsession with artifice and entertainment.
Worthington takes the reader into worlds that are bizarre and realistic, and both at the same time; we enter the fearful future of mass revolts and repressions across America, the surreal and symbolic journeys of heroes and antiheroes, and the landscapes of postindustrial wastelands of Middle America.
We see the greatest amusement park ever, a new American civil war, an abnormal adult-size baby, a college hiring committee, a high school reunion, and the newest advancements in genetically simulated reincarnation. We see our current world, our past, our future, our dreams.
"Equal parts weird and profound and disturbing and funny, I really wish I had written A Very Small Forest Fire. These stories by Andrew Duncan Worthington show us families at their best and worst, when a son deals with his drug-addled history, or when another son disappears in a dystopic future, even through the strange straining of staying with your parents when you're an adult, when you smoke and you know that they don't like it. The stories in this book are wildly inventive, and they are always at heart about us, humans seeking out their lives in sadness and triumph." -Jamie Iredell, author of The Book of Freaks
“What we like about his writing is that it feels honest. He doesn't ham it up, or try to capitalize on his idiosyncrasies. He also has some weird affects that would have been beaten out of him in a creative writing class, or by a New York City book editor, if he'd been in contact with one. He uses big words and is occasionally unguarded. In short, he's a natural writer, telling a story because he has to—he's not somebody reading the latest so-and-so and seeing a reflection of his own life, and then copying the so-and-so's shape.” -VICE Magazine
ADW somehow manages to write stories about bored characters in dry narrative that grips you. I really hope this doesn't come across as a backhanded compliment because it isn't meant to be one. I am so impressed with how this collection handles its narrative structure and how that reflects its content.