Saturday, July 15, 2006

Kirkus Discoveries Reviews HIGHLY IRREGULAR STORIES by Richard Grayson

Kirkus Discoveries reviewed Highly Irregular Stories by Richard Grayson on July 14:

Author: Grayson, Richard

Review Date: JULY 14, 2006
Publisher:Dumbo Books (178 pp.)
Price (paperback): $12.95
Publication Date: 2006
ISBN (paperback): 1-4116-5796-9
Category: AUTHORS
Classification: FICTION

An audacious and wickedly smart comedic writer brings his full weight to bear in a collection of his early work.

Grayson, no stranger to experimentation, here assembles four of his most engaging chapbooks, which merge nicely as an eclectic anthology of intriguing short stories. The author, who breaks nearly every literary rule in an obsessive effort to be unique, is both maddeningly and hilariously self-aware. “Narcissism and Me” leaps dizzyingly between the author’s presence and the actual story like a snake eating its tail, while “Sixteen Attempts to Justify My Existence” reads like a blog from another planet, and “I Saw Mommy Kissing Citicorp” waxes poetic on the rise and fall of 1980s greed. No business is safe, either, as Grayson mocks traditional publishing’s buzzed-based marketing with caustic sarcasm in “The Greatest Short Story That Absolutely Ever Was.” In “The Facts Are Always Friendly,” the action is narrated through a series of terse, date-stamped factual statements. Grayson opens up in the meatier “Eating at Arby’s,” a clever spoof written in childlike prose. It details the absurd dichotomies of South Florida as a pair of retirees fall prey to consumerism, political exiles and even gunplay on their way to the mall. With a keen eye for highlighting the high anxieties of the modern world, and many of the sensibilities of a sensitive urban writer, Grayson is occasionally compared to Woody Allen. But Grayson’s stories here recall no one so much as Richard Brautigan, who walked a similar line between wit and warmth in his more eccentric novels. Though certainly unconventional, Highly Irregular Stories are refreshing because of their aloofness, which allows the author to indulge his peculiar point of view.

An iconoclast sways to his own beat, making beautiful music along the way.

Monday, July 3, 2006

QueerType on Richard Grayson's WITH HITLER IN NEW YORK

Jameson Currier writes about "With Hitler in New York" at his blog QueerType on July 2, 2006:

Three Discoveries: During the spring, works by three writers came to my attention that I can highly recommend, one is Richard Grayson's surreal and thought-provoking short story, "With Hitler in New York," which was also the title of a collection of his short stories that were published in the late 1970s and which has been recently reissued. In the story, Hitler becomes a stand-in for the alienation and discrimination many Germans felt in the decades after the war. The story is readable on-line via a link on Grayson's Web Site. ( Grayson also has an impressive political background (in the 1980s he was a Presidential candidate), but it is his short fiction that intrigues me most. His other collections worth exploring are Let Slip the Dogs of War, Lincoln's Doctor's Dog and Other Stories, and his most recent collection, And to Think He Kissed Him on Lorimer Street.

Saturday, July 1, 2006

Literary Kicks reviews Richard Grayson's AND TO THINK THAT HE KISSED HIM ON LORIMER STREET

Levi Asher reviewed Richard Grayson's And To Think That He Kissed Him On Lorimer Street at his blog Literary Kicks (LitKicks) on June 29, 2006:

Richard Grayson's And To Think That He Kissed Him On Lorimer Street allows the touching moments to sneak up on the reader. This is a surprising collection of assorted writings by a veteran Brooklyn author who once published a diary of a New York City congressional campaign and has produced numerous other books with intriguing titles like The Boy Who Fell To Brooklyn and I Brake For Delmore Schwartz (a long list of the author's books can be found here). I really like the first story in this collection, in which a good-humored narrator chaperones his teenage son to a loud punk concert at the Northsix club in Brooklyn. His son is openly gay, and the title of the book is explained when the trio amass at the L Train subway entrance on Lorimer Street and the father averts his eyes, wondering at his own amazing tolerance, while the two boys kiss goodnight. Elsewhere, Grayson's book gives us a tour of Brooklyn neighborhoods, a list of bad sitcoms nobody else remembers, and many other scattered ideas. The book has more sprawl than focus, but then so does the borough it proudly represents.