Monday, October 12, 2009

Low Moon by Jason

I was so excited for the release of Jason’s newest book that I dragged my ass down to the Strand to wait in line during his book signing. I was early and chose two books for me and SEC. When I got to the table, all intelligent remarks left me and I just grunted out my name and waited to see what Jason would draw in my book.*

Low Moon is a handsome hardcover of five short stories. Already a bit of disappointment—I want to see Jason attempt a sustained narrative. For the sake of this review, I’ll just have to get over that and focus on the content. “Emily Says Hello” and “&” are further explorations of hardboiled tropes by the author. Both include men that are killing to get closer to a woman, and, despite the dubious morality of the noir world, neither gets more than a distortion of love. Unfortunately as a reader I don’t care either way really because the characters aren’t given enough of a story to create investment.

“You Are Here” and “Proto Film Noir” play with temporal funny business, much like Jason’s longer work I Killed Adolph Hitler. "Proto Film Noir" is a one-note gag about an unkillable husband that is meant to provide comic relief, but just sits there. "You Are Here" uses alien abduction to facilitate a story about finding one’s lost mother too late to stop a familial cycle of broken relationships. The father in the story spends his life building a rocket to go find his bride. I really like Jason’s fat, riveted, spacecraft, but the pathos here did not quite penetrate my hull. Again, he did it better in I Killed Adolph Hitler.

The title story is a western set in a past where chess, not gunslinging, is the true test of masculinity. The main character, the sheriff, is a simple man with a drinking problem and a secret whose like is upended when his last chess challenger gets out of jail and saunters back into town. It’s okay.

Compared to Jason’s longer work, Low Moon feels like a bunch of B-grade material jumbled together to meet a deadline.

* He drew a sheriff wearing a deconstructed pirate hat. Sigh.


sean said...

You know I was going to say that given your literary proclivities you really ought to be in a lit program somewhere honing your hermeneutical skills in order to slap poor little froshes out of their collective narcosis but on second thought that would probably only crush your spirit and make you, like me, less interesting. hope all is well.

Carrie said...

Nice to see you here, Sean.
Luckily my grad program requires very little slapping down of others. I save that for real life.

I hope you are well, too.
Write me a letter (or email, I guess).

looka said...


Please, please, please... can you email me a photo of that drawing??? P-L-E-A-S-E-?-?

Sorry, all normality fails me, I guess you can understand considering the reason?

And I though the same thing when I saw the book in the picture, hoping it was one big story. But I will digest a set of short stories as well. I lke the chess thing though.

Hhahaha, "It's O.k." Darn, I will have to trust your advice and leave this one in the shelves. If not take it for the wonderful artwork alone.

Amanda said..., do you think that one story is called "And" or "Ampersand"?


Carrie said...

I am going to guess "And," knowing Jason's interest in whimsical titles, or perhaps Norwegian titles that lend themselves to English-language whimsy.