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Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Lovelace Scrambles Our Culture and Makes a Pleasing Dish

It's been raining in the desert. After softening us up with drizzle for days, the main event arrived last night: a storm front that rent trees, darkened houses and sent my cats freaking up and down the hallway all night, imploring me as their god to make it stop. Today the human population of the city, unused to not just rain but weather patterns of any kind, surveys with shocked faces the six inches of water in their backyards, the roof tiles on the ground, the tree sundered by lightning. Experiencing the storm was a brief, powerful experience (just ask my cats), but the effects will linger as we patch, drain, rebuild and try to find where the hell the lawn furniture got to.
Reading How Some People Like Their Eggs by Sean Lovelace leaves a similar feeling of wandering around your psyche afterwards looking at what has been changed, blown away, or revealed.
Pop culture in particular looks different after Lovelace has rained on it. In the title story, a recitation of egg preferences of famous people and notables, he uses bits of celebrity like Lego bricks, assembling a monument to our monuments. Like the bricks, each of these stories can stand on it’s own. The Howard Hughes and Cher entries hit like shot-gun blasts to your inner People magazine, and the Thelonious Monk entry that wraps the story at the end brings an honest query to what the currency of celebrity is among Americans.
Flash fiction uses white space on equal footing with the printed word. Implication can be a blunt instrument in the wrong hands, but Lovelace uses it like a rapier, all his cuts are deft and to the quick. The ending of “Meteorite,” a paragraph that is a single sentence, is a forward thrust that cauterizes as it cuts. “Wal-mart” is a short fable about a broken relationship that manages to indict American culture in two pages. Charlie Brown’s Diary: Excerpts contains single paragraphs that invokes vast bleak landscapes worthy of Beckett. I could go on, but a reviewer is on dangerous turf after reading Eggs. When you find out just how much Lovelace does with so little, you feel like a bad writer yourself if you go on too long. Let’s end with this thought: You could read the entirety of this book on the train on the way to work, but it will ride with you long after that.
How Some People Like Their Eggs
Sean Lovelace
Rose Metal Press

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the review, Aaron, it looks like a great read, perhaps at the breakfast table.