Minor Sketches and Reveries (Stories) Minor Sketches and Reveries (Stories)

Minor Sketches and Reveries (Stories‪)‬

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Publisher Description

These introspective tales feature animals, allegories and melodramas of everyday life. At the center of the stories are tiny creatures (a sparrow, earthworm or paperclip) struggling to make sense of larger mysterious forces. Human protagonists are equally perplexed by ordinary events – like searching for a lost key, watching late night TV, or eating a taco.

As the author admits in the afterward, these pieces feel more like “sketches” than stories with conventional plot and character. Many end at odd places or don’t end at all. Scattered through the stories are moments of isolation, confusion and foreboding. Some pieces (like the essayistic “Indolence: Notebooks”) investigate a philosophical idea to such absurd lengths that one is almost tempted to take a nap.

In one of the lighter pieces (“3 Fake Recommendation Letters,”) Balengo submits fake recommendation letters (by Rabelais, Kafka and Hans Christian Anderson) to an MFA program. In a more somber story (“The Deletionist”) a disgruntled system administrator tries to delete as much of his digital footprint as he can – with mixed results.

Written in plain, careful language, this debut collection by Alberto Balengo depicts people (and creatures) trying valiantly to investigate a world that seems neither rational nor reassuring. With illustrations by artist Brittany Bethurem.

LONE STAR LITERARY LIFE (9/2020) Minor Sketches and Reveries offers 14 refreshingly unusual tales. Most of the tales ... do not offer fiction's traditional beginnings, middles, and endings. Indeed, some of Balengo's sketches and reveries create intriguing flows of mental images and then suddenly cease, leaving their stories suspended mentally in midair... Balengo's writing style sometimes offers moments of sharp tension for his characters, yet more often flows toward clear, calm descriptions, philosophical contemplation, and efforts to accept or make sense of both human and nonhuman realities.

SAN FRANCISCO BOOK REVIEW (11/2020) Balengo's tales bring ... dark humor and unconventional whimsicality to our daily interactions. These works will encourage readers to stop and reconsider their everyday activities and interactions in a new, more satirical light....His words, honest and poignant, capture the magnitude of emotions and words left unsaid. Between these pages, readers will explore loss, frustration, and unconventional closure. Balengo's book earns four stars for its originality and perspectives on the ins and outs of life.... (It's) an exceptional work that will entrance and challenge readers to rethink the ordinary and perceive the bizarre and outlandish in their everyday lives. (J Tingling)

MIDWEST BOOK REVIEW (10/2020) These works eschew the usual focus on progressive plot or character development in favor of more of a sketchbook method of capturing slices of life... (This) diverse collection ... holds no unified theme other than its excellence and element of surprise. ...(T)he opening piece, 'Dog Orientation', (is) a primer for the canine on the ironies and incongruities of living in a human world. ... (and) a fine introduction to other pieces which are, at points, more reflective and serious in nature, but often embedded with this same sense of ironic observation. '3 Fake Recommendation Letters', which Alberto Balengo wrote himself and included in an application to a school creative writing program, are also whimsical in nature, reminiscent of Australian humorist David Thorne. (It's) ... the perfect panacea for minds stressed by life's challenges.{D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer)

Fiction & Literature
November 1
Personville Press
Draft2Digital, LLC

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