The short stories I read are "Volcano", "Beautiful Monsters", "Alive", and "M&M World"

Notably, "Alive" and "M&M World" sport narratives that are not strictly linear.  The plot jumps back and forth in time as the story progresses.  Ginny in "M&M World" recalls the days before she and her husband separated while struggling with her two little (a little demanding) little girls. "Alive" has some similar moments, such as when the parents are discussing what to do in response to Nate's assumed cancer diagnosis.  Both of these short stories remind me of The Things They Carried in general.  Tim O'Brien's book of interconnected short stories constantly shifted time and place.

I find "Volcano" memorable in that it uses the concept of lucid dreaming to keep the reader guessing.  To be honest I was totally fooled when Martha Fink left the hot tub as the score of naked men came storming to it. I would have thought that actually happened if she had not woken up.  The ending is especially memorable in that Martha desperately attempts to wake herself up, only realizing that she is not dreaming.  I get the impression that Martha as a character cannot figure out who she is now that she is single. Being with one other person for such a time, I imagine, causes you to lose yourself.

"Beautiful Monsters" created a bizarre yet intriguing reality, where old age is "cured" and full grown adults are considered deviant.  The beginning of the tale drops right into the action, not giving a clue into the true nature of the world.  However, the small details here and there paint a picture little by little, effectively drawing the reader in.  The full picture is almost scary, but by that point you are already under

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    April 2013