This Is Where It Gets Interesting
In his short—often very short—stories, John H. Matthews looks at the places between places. Life may seem to be plodding through its mundane routines, but in This Is Where It Gets Interesting, the unusual and the downright bizarre are never far from the surface. Populated with visions, ghosts, and supernatural beings, this collection shows us the realms of the imagination where, as the title suggests, things can indeed get interesting.
Often dark, these odd tales are most entertaining when they juxtapose unexpected things like conversations with the dead and food-cart chili. The brevity of the pieces makes them a quick read, but often also leaves the impression that there is more to the story; several of these vignettes are intriguing thought experiments that beg to be fleshed out in a longer format. Indeed, the longer pieces, like “Mercurochrome,” have the most impact, as Matthews uses the space to explore his characters’ peculiar trauma-centric mindset, seizing on the psychological component that makes these tales tick.
Many of Matthews’ stories are ghost stories, but none seem old-fashioned. In fact, several skewer modern popular culture, such as his up-close-and-personal look at celebrity obsession in “The Actor” and his creepy consideration of the price of security in “The Wall.” The dialogue is consistently realistic; Matthews is equally capable of capturing the careful cadence of middle-aged suburban homeowners and the half-mumbled slang of ambivalent young adults writing songs in a barren basement studio. Music, in fact, efficiently sets the mood for several stories, with appearances from everyone from The Beatles to Led Zeppelin.
This Is Where It Gets Interesting is an entertaining, though never exactly cheerful, look at life’s boundaries. While the extra-brief format of many pieces may frustrate some readers, others will appreciate the way Matthews turns a questioning lens on all aspects of relationships and societies.
|Author||John H. Matthews|
|Page Count||193 pages|
|Publisher||Six Slug Books|
|Bookshop.org||Buy this Book|