Except for “Bad Baby”, (a masterfully told Kafkaesque tale,) and a few that follow, these early works by the author seem to be not so much full-fledged stories as extended —or, conversely, attenuated— narrative conjectures and conceits. You often find this sort of thing in literary magazines, and a little goes a long way. I confess to not really caring for, or about, many of the characters thus portrayed—in some cases they were themselves too insubstantial (or, at least in one instance, incorporeal) to provide the needed weighty antithesis to an oh-so-clever yet too airy narrative; in other instances, as in the abecederios, the characters seemed compelling enough but also entirely undeveloped, inasmuch as their stories are —regrettably— left largely untold. Even so, what is done here is done deftly, with wry verve and grace. Taken in small measures, the reading is a delight to partake. But it is mostly bittersweet dessert, not dinner. Still, all in all, this writer's undeniable talent is always very much in evidence and deserving of five stars.
(review of free book)