“Mesmerizing and magical. . . . A stunning book.” —NPR.org
“Short stories so imaginative — and yet so perplexingly familiar — they could have formed in a dream. . . . Taut, meticulously balanced and written in Loory’s direct, witty prose, his own stories take a page from Aesop: high-flying tales nonetheless boiled down to the essentials.” —The Los Angeles Times
“Ben Loory’s stories are little gifts, strange and moving and wonderfully human. I devoured this book in one sitting.” —Ransom Riggs, author of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
A dazzling new collection of stories from the critically acclaimed author of Stories for Nighttime and Some for The Day
Ben Loory returns with a second collection of timeless tales, inviting us to enter his worlds of whimsical fantasy, deep empathy, and playful humor, in the signature voice that drew readers to his highly praised first collection. In stories that eschew literary realism, Loory’s characters demonstrate richly imagined and surprising perspectives, whether they be dragons or swordsmen, star-crossed lovers or long-lost twins, restaurateurs dreaming of Paris or cephalopods fixated on space travel. In propulsive language that brilliantly showcases Loory’s vast imagination, Tales of Falling and Flying expands our understanding of how fiction can work and is sure to cement his reputation as one of the most innovative short-story writers working today.
Life and death are treated with equal gravity and levity in this nimble, refreshing collection of shorts from Loory (Stories for Nighttime and Some for the Day). Each of these stories is a deceptively small bite, its depth of flavor often growing and lingering. Divided into four sections, the first three each 13 yarns long and the last a single story, the book engages both the profound and the frivolous. Reality flirts with and sometimes gives way to the bizarre, the economy and style of language making a man with disappearing body parts ("Missing") and a sloth seeking work in the city ("The Sloth") equally vivid. Each of these microcosms, whether involving well-known people and places or anonymous characters and locales, carries the appropriate emotional weight to enchant without overwhelming. Loory is at his best in worlds tilted slightly from reality involving quests tinged with mystery and heartache, such as the man seeking a woman who vanished after falling from a cliff in "The Fall" and the treasure-hunting crew that meets a different kind of siren in "The Island."