Friday, 24 January 2020
ROGER McKNIGHT - HOPEFUL MONSTERS (2019)
Roger McKnight’s debut collection depicts individuals hampered by hardship, self-doubt, and societal indifference, who thanks to circumstance or chance, find glimmers of hope in life’s more inauspicious moments. Hopeful Monsters is a fictional reflection on Minnesota’s people that explores the state’s transformation from a homogeneous northern European ethnic enclave to a multi-national American state. Love, loss, and longing cross the globe from Somalia and Sweden to Maine and Minnesota as everyday folk struggle for self-realization. Idyllic lake sides and scorching city streets provide authentic backdrops for a collection that shines a flickering light on vital global social issues. Read and expect howling winds, both literal and figurative, directed your way by a writer of immense talent.
“Roger McKnight is a very slick writer with an incredibly quirky sensibility. Miss him at your own peril.” – Mark SaFranko –
"‘Hopeful Monsters’ is one of the best collections of linked stories I’ve ever read.” – Donald Ray Pollock –
An enjoyable collection of short stories, if not an exactly memorable one.
Seventeen in all - listed below and no real favourite among them. Scrub that - probably the last couple - The First Best Bus and Speed Clean.
Speed Clean in particular satisfies with the kindness displayed by a couple cleaning out a mother's possessions after she has passed. Their acts allowing a measure of the women's spirit to stay alive as her washer moves on to a young family with an infant and very little else.
People, loneliness, friendships, strangers, poverty, immigration, family, loss, dreams, depression, unemployment, landlords, poultry farming, thoughts of suicide, military service, bus rides, waiting tables, art, connections, and probably a lot more.
Perhaps my reading experience would have been better served by consuming the stories over a shorter period of time. Only in a couple did I notice the connections to other characters in other tales. What can I say - work and life interfered with my reading and something that should have taken a week, ended up being several months. That's hardly the fault of the author.
OUT THE WINDOW
A PLACE IN SPACE
DOWN THE RIVER
FORGETTING SHE FORGOT
THE FIRST, BEST BUS
Overall 3 from 5
Read - January, 2020
Published - 2019
Page count - 270
Source - review copy received from publisher, Storgy Books
Format - kindle