Loory’s collection of wry and witty, dark and perilous contemporary fables is populated by people–and monsters and trees and jocular octopi–who are united by twin motivations: fear and desire. In his singular universe, televisions talk (and sometimes sing), animals live in small apartments where their nephews visit from the sea, and men and women and boys and girls fall down wells and fly through space and find love on Ferris wheels. In a voice full of fable, myth, and dream, Stories for Nighttime and Some for the Day draws us into a world of delightfully wicked recognitions, and introduces us to a writer of uncommon talent and imagination.
I had Ben Loory’s Stories for Nighttime and Some For the Day on my wishlist at the library for quite some time before I got it. Once I had it in my hands, I didn’t know what to think–I knew it was short stories, but for kids? For adults? With titles like ‘The Octopus’ or ‘The Fish in the Teapot,’ I thought maybe it was a scarier book of short stories for children. Either way, I was happy to give it a read–I had heard only good things about it.
I started reading it late in the evening, just before bed. It’s a surprisingly quick read and only took a few hours. From what I read about Loory, the book was written after he had taken a course on writing short horror stories. While some of the stories in the book aren’t necessarily horror, a lot of them are definitely fantasy or magical. The ones that are horror really made me think, “Yes, this is not a kid’s book!”
Think back to when you were a kid and you could just make up stories about silly things, you know–things that just don’t seem to go together, like an octopus living in the city, or the sea wanting to visit a house, or flying away like a balloon. This is what’s going on in Ben Loory’s head and it’s magical. I found all of the stories fascinating and would really recommend it to any writer who may be over-thinking their craft.
The stories are very short, lots of little paragraphs, easy dialogue, but they’re definitely stories for an escape–in fact, none of them are what one would call “normal.” But that’s not a bad thing! It felt so nice to just escape into something completely different, something that I had never read before. Horror doesn’t have to be epic 500-page novels–Ben Loory shows that horror can encompass a mere 3 pages. And he succeeds in every single story in this book.
Many of the stories in this small volume read like a little nightmare, a dark tale to chill you–just enough–on even the warmest day, while others are the epitome of charm and wit. This would be the perfect little book for a short story university class, giving each student their own little gem to dissect. I feel like I should reread the entire thing just to be sure I didn’t miss anything!
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