Stories for the Nighttime and Some for the Day by Ben Loory is one of the strangest little collections of stories that I have ever read, and oddly, it’s really resonant. While longer than sudden fiction (though some of it really is just that), each of these short stories are dark and offered up something of the weird to be pondered. The stories don’t always make the most sense, but they grab hold of mind and imagination in satisfying ways. They stay with you. They have off kilter premises- a tree walks and goes on adventures before being trapped in a tree cage in a park, an octopus lives in a house and collects teacups, a man and moose become friends in precarious circumstances, a monster dwells in a swimming pool. You get the picture, right?
I had a lot of fun reading this book- it is a great conversation starter and very discussable. It might be that the rich blue of the cover and the far flung arm of the orange octopus were too entrancing to pass up, but people wanted to ask me about this book, and sometimes I would even let them read a story. There is a short one- only three sentences long- that doesn’t even fill a page. Others are only two pages long. I compared meanings with strangers and sometimes we disagreed and at others they gave me food for thought.
These stories are fun in that since they are easily shared, reading takes on a communal feel. I chatted quite a bit about the experience of reading these stories, because it mainly comes down to the way they make you feel. Most of them have dark meanings, surprising turns and unhappy endings,while some are beautiful and others are baffling. Oftentimes while reading I felt as if I were on the verge of grasping some meaning or deeper truth but was left with only a residue of their elusiveness.
Stories for Nighttime and Some for the Day is a beguiling and thought-provoking collection of short fiction that strays from the beaten path, but is better for following its own rhythm. I haven’t found many collections of short stories that I like, but it was pleasure to read through these, and I will do so again. I recommend them not only for short fiction readers but for those who enjoy the meditative quality of art. These stories are open wide to and welcome many interpretations. Recommended.
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