With a Voice that is Often Still Confused But is Growing Ever Louder and Clearer
With a Voice that is Often Still Confused But is Growing Ever Louder and Clearer is a collection of 9 dark and what I would call “weird” fiction tales that feature real people in highly weird situations. One story deals with a teenager who is offered the “gift” of death, but in the most unusual way. Another story, which I found particularly entertaining as a GoodReads user, deals with a GoodReads story that goes far beyond the confines of normal GoodReads behavior. Still another story, deals with a mother on welfare and her caseworker in a “Twilight Zone” situation.
With a Voice that is Often Still Confused But is Growing Ever Louder and Clearer is a weird title, but aptly fits the collection of weird and eccentric tales written by J. R. Hamantaschen. Each story takes on the same subjects that are covered in other “dark fiction” books, but flips the conventional take on them. Hamantaschen’s stories focus on real characters with real flaws, and a real earthy humanity to them. The first story,“Vernichtungsschmerz”, really exemplifies this in a great way. Julia, the main character, is a typical teen girl with flaws and insecurities, with the language to match. Hamantaschen does a great job of letting Julia, speak as a teen might actually sound, although in a dream about a fish that is offering her the “gift” of death. Through Julia and her interaction with this being, great existential questions are asked and answered in a way that is quite interesting.
Other stories continue the theme of ordinary people who confronted by weird situations. The irony (and genius) is that the stories are weird, but not so weird to be unbelievable. In another story that unnerved and intrigued me, “The Gulf of Responsibility”, the issue is more about the “mystery that won’t go away” and Alex’s obsession with it that makes the story what it is. Alex feels bothered by this one haunting question in a way that is engaging and thought provoking. By the end of story, I was still wondering what happened.
One aspect that I disliked was that some of the longer stories, such as “Vernichtunsschmerz” went on a longer than I expected, which made a few parts of the story more “lull’ than action-oriented. That being said, I kept up with the story because of the mystery, I wanted to know what choice Julia would make and I wanted to see how far this would go.
Overall, I enjoyed this collection of short stories. The author has a clever way of pulling you into his story with his use of language (down-to-earth at times and literary at others), interesting take on basic themes (like death, honesty, and reputation), and characters. The stories in here are designed for readers who are tired of reading the same old “dark fiction” and want to add a little creative weirdness to their day. The stories certainly stayed with me for a few days after reading it.
Pages: 308 | ISBN: 1517113989
Posted on October 19, 2015, in Book Reviews, Four Stars and tagged fantasy, fiction, J.R. Hamantaschen, science fiction, short stories, With a Voice that is Often Still Confused But is Becoming Ever Louder and Clearer. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.