Holding Pattern: Stories by Jeffery Renard Allen

By Jeffery Renard Allen

The area of Jeffery Renard Allen's gorgeous short-story assortment is a spot like no different. A recognizable urban, definitely, yet one during which a guy may sprout wings or copper pennies may fall from the skies onto your head. but those are not any fairy stories. The hostility, the damage, is all too human.

The protagonists circle one another with steely decision: a grandson scoffs his grandmother, decided to show her mystery earlier; for years, a sister attempts to maintain a menacing neighbor clear of her brother; and within the neighborhood police station, an officer and prisoner attempt to holiday every one other's resolve.

In all of the tales, Allen calibrates the mounting rigidity with beautiful timing, in spell binding prose that has gained him comparisons with Joyce and Faulkner. Holding trend is a charming assortment through a prodigiously proficient author.

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I stood with a frozen smile on my face while Wendell and Duncan shared a hearty laugh. After he let go of my hand, Duncan loaded his palms with Purell and rubbed them vigorously. 16484-IntoHotAir 11/2/07 11:32 AM Page 21 INTO HOT AIR 21 “Nothing personal, just got a little germ phobia. ” “Mr. ” “In a way, I guess you could say I want you to help me track down . ” I paused for dramatic effect “. . myself. ” Wendell jumped in. ” “Oh, a mysterious diary, how interesting. Fellas, if I had a nickel for every A-hole who came in here with their long-lost uncle’s journal wanting me to help them go find his frozen body .

All the animals had some sort of problem. Some were missing legs, others eyes, and some were even more freakish: There were bunnies with rat tails, rats with bunny tails, and one hor- 16484-IntoHotAir 11/2/07 11:32 AM Page 45 INTO HOT AIR 45 ribly obese squirrel that must have weighed at least three hundred pounds. “It looks like a scene right out of Night of the Living Dead,” I said, “except with zombie animals instead of your standard zombie human beings. Note to self: Pitch Night of the Living Dead Animals idea to Weinstein bros.

I guess. ” he asked generously. “Well,” I began, “where I come from, those froi groi burgers are all the talk, plus those . ” He scooped the last spoonful of something exotic into his mouth and pushed his bowl aside. ” “These? Hell no, just a bowl of baked beans. The truffles are for paying customers. So what can I do for you two? ” “That’s right,” Lauren began. “Chris has a very interesting idea. ” I made a show of clearing my throat. ” and I winked. “You know what the best thing for a dry throat is?

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