introducing readers to writers since 1995

April 27, 2005

Oh You NASTYbook

by Ron Hogan

I showed up at the Slipper Room just as Barry Yourgrau was starting to read the first of several stories from his new collection of twisted tales for children, NASTYbook. They take place in a world where the strange boarder really is a hideous monster, just like the precocious child suspects--and that's too bad for the child. Where a monkey's dreams go unfulfilled, and a bright young detective's career is ruined by a talking octopus with a librarian fetish. So what if you don't have kids: get it anyway, because it's definitely pure Barry Yourgrau, just like Leon and the Spitting Image was a perfect Allen Kurzweil story. (Come to think of it, how does Harper get all these great kid's books out of "adult" authors?)

After Yourgrau left the stage, I chatted up Fran Gordon and Wah-Ming Chang, the directors of the reading series at the National Arts Club--they'll be bringing him over in June, but before that in just a few weeks they've got Elizabeth Gaffney, Samantha Hunt, and René Steinke (so don't miss that). Later, Fran introduced me to former Paris Review editor Brigid Hughes and her friend, Roland Kelts, one of the contributors to Kuhaku, an anthology of essays on contemporary Japan published by Chin Music Press. He's also one of the contributors to the publisher's blog.

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