Phantoms; A collection of stories

9781199803078: Phantoms; A collection of stories

Kirkus Review: This phantasmagoria in thirteen parts establishes Barton Midwood as the hallelujah voice of hinterland sanity and civilized madness. Each of his short stories gives the reader provisional realities-terra firma dialogue, lucid and controlled; evenly paced narrative; and an unobtrusive style. Before long, however, the placid mental landscape starts rolling underfoot, erupting with eccentricities and the flora-fauna of outright lunacy. Case in point is found ""On the Face of It"" where two Negro boys afflicted with acne attempt to correct their skin condition by sunning on the beach. They remain there all night and Thurston, who had not covered himself from the moonlight, awakes a pink-eyed albino, blind and unaware of his change. Friend Willy calls in the white-coated men, but before they arrive, Thurston, who refused to move out of the sun, dries into a raisin. Willy eats him up, planting the pit in the sand. From it sprouts Thurston progeny--hybrids, mutants, men with acne and albinos. With an admirable capacity for invention, the author guides his other stories into opposite if not equal directions, veering from an abstract epigram of tic-tac-toe where X and O must invite B to play and break the tie, to a subtly savage record of Huntley-Brinkley reports where these two eminently saner Americans appear as the maddest hatters of the hutch. The title to the contrary, substance abounds and the black humor is anything but fleeting.

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