Ball explores the darker edges of love and sex and death, how they are intimately and often violently connected, with bright, vivid stories set mostly in contemporary Los Angeles. Read more...
Ball explores the darker edges of love and sex and death, how they are intimately and often violently connected, with bright, vivid stories set mostly in contemporary Los Angeles. In "Cactus," a young girl comes to fear the outside world following the freakish, accidental death of her adventure-seeking, naturalist boyfriend in the California desert; in "Wig," a woman must help her best friend face life-threatening cancer while covering up an unseemly affair with her friend's husband; in "Fish," the narrator sits watch over a dying uncle, trying to pay for past sins while administering to his final needs, but distracted by the ravenous fish in the Koi pond near the hospital; and in the collection's stunning title story, the bonds of friendship and pet ownership collide in the most startling and unexpected ways.
With a keen insight into the edges of human behavior and an assured literary hand, Ball is the new book by one of the West's most provocative stylists.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2015-09-07
- Reviewer: Staff
The synthetic blond, the berserk lover, the horny teenagerIson delves into the minds of these characters and others in this captivating and disturbing collection of stories: think Mary Gaitskill or Miranda July, but more demented. Ison writes about sex as the undercurrent of all adult life. Past abuse, current relationships, future encountersnone dispel the magnetic tug of human sexual attraction. The erratic narrator of the title story is just as annoyed by her dogs obsession with playing ball as her boyfriend Eric is annoyed by her obsession with the dog. Eric breaks up with her, but she cant break up with the dog. Or can she? In Fish, the main character waits for her dreaded uncle to die so that she can quietly feed his remains to the fish at a botanical gardens. Another story dramatizes the wig shopping one friend must do for her friend dying of cancer. The resentment between the friend builds to a startling climax with a pair of tweezers. Isons (Rockaway) straightforward style belies a deeper, parallel truth hidden in each story. These stories find a strange sweet spot between the mundane and the horrific. They may shock but they also provoke, with many leading to an unexpected, and not always happy, ending. (Nov.)