Minor Sketches and Reveries (Stories)

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Minor Sketches and Reveries, written by Alberto Balengo and illustrated by Brittany Bethurem, is an eclectic array of short stories meant to regale and absorb readers. From “The Breakfast Taco” and “The Earthworm” to “The Deletionist” and “The Grandparents,” Balengo’s tales bring a sense of 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 pieces are thought-provoking and intriguing, yet also lighthearted and good-natured. Although discussing routine topics, Balengo’s descriptions and perspectives bring a simultaneous sense of simplicity and complexity to each theme. The “Losing the Apartment Key” chapter will prompt readers to rewrite their own key experiences in more vivacious, daring language that better captures the perilous nature of the incident. Balengo’s “sketches” encourage readers to pause and think again about the little pieces that make up our days. In describing the simple act of deleting old messages from an ex-girlfriend, Balengo expresses, “With a simple mouse click, I could delete digital remnants of this relationship. So I did this and savored the accomplishment, until I realized that I still hadn’t gotten rid of the photos or handwritten notes—that would take a lot more time.”

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. Many of Balengo’s chapters, or “sketches,” leave the reader roughly where the story started—in the middle of an object’s journey, without conclusion or sense of resolution. The book simply continues on to the next concept or theme, much like life. As readers, we hope for a comprehensive ending, but Balengo shows us that this is neither necessary nor absolute. Balengo includes an additional chapter toward the end of the book that expands on the sketches, providing insight and implication to the works, despite the point typically being to share an anecdote without background or conclusion.

Given the tone and syntax of the work, this book requires a mature audience capable of appreciating and comprehending Balengo’s intention and meaning. Balengo’s book earns four stars for its originality and perspectives on the ins and outs of life. This is the type of book that readers will return to again and again, eager to revisit Balengo’s descriptions and outlook on life. Minor Sketches and Reveries is an exceptional work that will entrance and challenge readers to rethink the ordinary and perceive the bizarre and outlandish in their everyday lives.

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Star Count 4/5
Format eBook
Page Count 190 pages
Publisher Personville Press
Publish Date 2020-11-01
ISBN 0000111220202
Bookshop.org Buy this Book
Issue November 2020
Category Poetry & Short Stories


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