Monday, January 11, 2016

            Reading “Lined Up Like Scars” was similar to going to a movie and coming out of the darkened theatre feeling grateful that there are people who make wonderful art.

            The title of Meg Tuite’s slight yet deadly book of flash fiction is telling, as she reveals in candid and lush form the wounds her characters, and us as readers, often carry with us through life.

            But there are equal parts pathos and humor.  In the classic speed-dating piece, “Meet and Greet”  the narrator goes toe to toe with a conniving male identified as only #11 as well as with another female.

            “You like yogurt?” I asked her.
            “Yeah,” she answered, shrugging her shoulders.  “Who doesn’t?”
            “So you’re a selfie?”
            “What?” she asked.  “What the hell does that even mean?”
            “Bacteria fund in yogurt is the same bacteria found in your vagina,” I said.  “So, basically you’re eating yourself every time you rock some yogurt.”

            In the very next story, with the wonderful title “Can You Hear The Fog?” we also get some slices of humor such as these:

            Some doctors believe there is a reason for every part of the anatomy.  Most believe that’s a crock of shit.

            The vocal folds can act as sphincter that prevents air passage.  My whole life I’ve been constipated.

            But we also get some beautiful lines like these stunners:

            She calls childhood the scab that never heals.

            Air is a dimension I force myself through.

            Sister wipes away my tears and says, “Shhh, shhh, shhh.”  It’s a lullaby we’ve grown up with.

            One word lights my cigarette.  Morphine.

            My heart is the shape of a fist.

            I could go on and on.   In just thirty-seven pages, with ten stories, Tuite does more with her writing than tomes ten times as long.  She takes us on carnivals, takes us to freak shows and to the moon, and when it’s all said and done she tucks us in and puts us to bed, but we can’t sleep, because she’s made insomniacs out of us, wanting more of her words and language.

            Read this book.  It’s a bag of gun powder prepped and ready to be lit.



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