Brandon Goetz presents a twisted collection of short stories Literary Art Pittsburgh
These are not Aesop’s fables.
There are creatures that can be found in Stop me if you’ve heard this before (2022, Six Gallery Press), Brendan Goetz’s debut collection of 12 short stories, and Pittsburgh City Paper ‘The May Book Club section, but they’re not that cute and enjoyable. Inside are rodents with taxidermy, ghosts with tree trunks instead of legs and evil little witches. From the beautiful demon on the colorful front cover of the book – illustrated by Pittsburgh artist Lisa Solomon – to the homunculus crawling out of a bloody head wound on the front page, readers are immediately introduced to a world where anything can happen. And it does.
Some stories are fantastic and reminiscent of folklore, like the old man who collects severed hands that mysteriously appear on the doorstep, or the chess game between God and the devil; others, closer to home as a newspaper editor, so desperately wanting readers, she lures the superhero by stealing a bus full of blind nuns to save him.
The records cross the fine line between fairy tales and horror stories, and many are immersed in the complexity of interpersonal relationships, both human and non-human. Stupidity often has tenderness when you finish a fairy tale wanting to save an oppressed robot or make love next to a dead rhino. (Don’t worry, this sentence won’t be so weird after you read the book.)
It should be noted that this is not a collection of stories for children. Goetz is not ashamed of sex, and everywhere you can find crude links, from women with “tits like balloons with water” to a house spirit who makes a “sexual movement” when he mocks a man for masturbating to sexual photography. Goetz’s writing, however, is also whimsical and conversational, making it harmless and easy to read, capturing a range of emotions from fear to sadness to rage.
Readers, for example, may be angry at a homemade man who shit in a “gilded toilet in the shape of a bald eagle with wings wrapped around a bowl.” Or “white people” who are literally white people, with their perfectly symmetrical faces and their flawless white lives. But Goetz’s characters and cartoons wink, making it clear to the reader that he’s joking, as if he wrote horrible characters with the intention of exposing.
Although the collection may not directly address the shortcomings of humanity, perhaps these wonderfully distorted fables have some morals.
June #CPBookClub Selection
She gets a girl Rachel Lipinkot and Alison Derrick
Just for a month of honor, New York Times bestselling author Rachel Lipinkot teamed up with his wife Alison Derrick to write a romantic comedy in Pittsburgh. The YA book focuses on two LGBTQ leaders who help each other seek love. Alex Blackwood is described as headstrong, “with a bit of chaos and a lot of flirting.” Molly Parker, on the other hand, is incredibly uncomfortable. Together, the two college students embark on a plan to make the girls of their dreams fall in love with them in history Circus Reviews calls “cute, honest and full of personality.”
Be sure to take a copy She gets a girl sponsored by #CPBookClub, Riverstone Books, at shopriverstonebookstore.comand join the conversation during the June Pittsburgh City Paper Book Club.