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.
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The Sea Beast Takes a Lover
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
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