Sunday, December 31, 1995

Publishers Weekly reviews Richard Grayson's I SURVIVED CARACAS TRAFFIC

In its January 3, 1996 issue, Publishers Weekly reviews Richard Grayson's I Survived Caracas Traffic:

Stories from the Me Decades
Richard Grayson. Avisson Press
(3007 Taliaferro Rd., Greensboro, N.C.
27408: 910-288-6989), $21 (144p)
ISBN 1-888105-04-6

Social tropes and individual types from the “Me Decades” (here, really just the late 1970s and early ‘80s) run through Grayson’s eighth story collection. The stories are riddled with self-absorbed baby boomers, T-shirt slogans, Henry Kissinger, silicone implants, Saturday Night Live, the AIDS crisis, quarreling roommates and psychotherapists. Most are written in a flat first-person, but in others Grayson (Lincoln’s Doctor’s Dog) shows a sense of humor and an appreciation of the weird. The costs of survival in the AIDS retrospective title story, and the isolating entropy of depression in “Where the Glacier Stops,” manage to imbue their drained narrators with some emotional weight. On the whimsical side, “Twelve Step Barbie” sees the doll in a midlife crisis, and “A Clumsy Story” artfully diagrams and parodies MFA-quality fiction. But whatever Grayson’s approach – whether the troubled roommate is a Wisconsin Lutheran (“My Plan to Kill Henry Kissinger”) or the Pontiff (“With the Pope in Park Slope”) – most of his characters carry only a faded familiarity, not an invigorating shock of recognition. (Feb.)

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