Riveting Reads for Busy People
No time for a novel? You could read a story from one of these stellar collections during your lunch break—but we bet you won't stop at just one.
4 of 4
The Sea Beast Takes a Lover
240 pages; Dutton
Available at:Amazon.com | Barnes & Noble | Apple Books | IndieBound
Like Ray Bradbury and George Saunders, Michael Andreasen has a gift for writing fiction that's seasoned with both humor and horror. In the title story, a giant squidlike creature has woven its many tentacles around an 18th-century-style ship. In others, a boy with the power to fly becomes an idol to the earthbound masses, aging men are put out to sea in a cruel ritual that recalls "The Lottery," and a boy in middle school becomes radioactive and threatens to explode. It's a world like our world, just a little more offbeat, broken and strange. Each story delivers a strong allegorical punch. In "The King's Teacup at Rest," the King of Retired Amusements visits decrepit funfairs, and amid the creaky Ferris wheels and abandoned midways is a lesson about our eagerness to chase the next shiny objects: "We are restless wanderers, nomads ever in search of richer, more authentic distractions." Andreasen clearly takes pleasure in satirizing entertainment and religion in broad ways, but his stories thrive at a human level, and he portrays his characters' feelings of loss, fear and confusion with pinpoint accuracy.
— Mark Athitakis