Thank you to Strange Books for the review copy in exchange for an honest review. This does not change my opinion in anyway.
Book: Nothing is Strange by Mike Russel
Release Date: November 31st 2014
Tags: Adult | Short Stories | Collection | Fabulism | Bizar
Trigger/Content Warnings: Cutting in half of Hermaphrodite | Ableism
20 mind-expanding short stories.
Inspiring, liberating, otherworldly, magical, surreal, bizarre, funny, disturbing, unique… all of these words have been used to describe the stories of Mike Russell so put on your top hat, open your third eye and enjoy: Nothing Is Strange
Nothing is Strange is a collection of 20 short stories, all by the hand of Mike Russel. They differ from a page to a few pages, from a man finding a diary to a couple finding true love.
I though Nothing is Strange sounded really interesting. The ideas certainly were but I felt that at the end of it the author didn’t quite get across the message he was sending. I caught most of what he was trying to do, because I’ve seen similar things before, but I don’t think the text backed up the ideas.
This was because of the writing. Most is written from a third person omniscient point of view. That is a hard one to get right when you want to engage your reader within a short time frame. And in this case it didn’t work. There was a lot of description, choppy at times, and very little emotion. It was all so far away from me as a reader that I couldn’t make myself care. And even though these stories were perhaps not meant to be emotionally devastating, I still need something to grab as a reader. Adding on to that is that a lot of them felt unfinished.
I also felt uncomfortable by the story where the hermaphrodite got cut into two (implied that they were cut into a man and a woman) and the story where the mother talked about her daughter who had no senses which to me felt a lot like ableism.
Having said that I do think that some will like these. Afterwards one will think about what the meaning was of them. And I think that it is a kind of book that would do well in a book club to talk about themes and ideas and discuss what was going on.