Friday, March 28, 2008

Dangerous Laughter by Steven Millhauser

I am a huge fan of Millhauser's first novel, Edwin Mullhouse, and a more modest fan of pretty much everything else he does. In this story collection, he does a nice job of marrying high concept ideas (snow globe type housing communities, teenage age laughing clubs) to real people and real feelings. But what interested me most was the way the collection avoids the whole everything must be linked trend that publishers are imposing on the short story world. The first story is called an Opening Cartoon and then there are three sections, Vanishing Acts, Impossible Architectures, and Heretical Histories, each of which contain four stories. The section structure allows for like-minded stories to be grouped together without forcing the whole collection to be of a piece. I approve.

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