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Bookworm In Your Ear: Your Marginalized And Mysterious, With Humor

Dark humor provide shafts of relief or outright joy in these two works of fiction. Silverman is known for her work in theater, but here shows she’s adept at short stories as well. Moore is my go-to for crazy, off the wall humor since Forever, and this is his latest.

 


The Island Dwellers by Jen Silverman

A noted playwright, Silverman now comes up with this precious collection of short stories. Set either in Tokyo, or some city in America, these interlinked tales carry a wonderful ear for dialogue, and are populated by the ‘outsiders’, the marginalized and survivors that find strangeness a way of life, if not an outright comfort. The opening story is a wonderful doozy, narrated by this woman who has a needy and insecure boyfriend who thinks of himself as a performance artist—trouble is, he’s a dismal artist. And I love how Silverman has her protagonist making the observation that a performance artist is one whose acting just wasn’t good enough, and whose art was never taken seriously. The other stories do get more serious, but consistent throughout is the quality of the storytelling. 

 


Noir by Christopher Moore

 

The world of tough guys, and even tougher broads, in a vividly imagined San Francisco and Chinatown in the 1950’s is the canvas Christopher Moire applies his off tangent humor to this time out. Our main protagonist is a gimpy bartender, who immediately falls in love when a blonde moll enters the bar and shows she can dish it as well as take it. A deadly poisonous mamba snake is our alternate narrator, and there the Roswell UFO incident also wreaking havoc on the storyline. A very different kind of E.T. even makes an appearance. And our bartender’s sidekick is a Chinese-American bouncer, who spouts wacky Confucius-like wisdom and ‘Bon mots’. In other words, we're back in typical Moore territory, where Raymond Chandler meets the Men in Black, and there’s crazy on every page. Very much in form!