Reviewed by Jadidsa Perez
A collection of vibrant, diverse, and adventurous parables
Are we in control of our fate? Or are we debris floating between time and space? The Unnatural Order of Things is a collection of short stories that makes the characters (and readers) confront those big questions.
While traveling through time, each chapter is a door. Hiding behind it is a completely new world to explore. The whirlwind effect of reading through this text is akin to standing in the eye of a storm.
Despite the challenge of blending myriad genres into a cohesive collection, The Unnatural Order of Things adroitly hits the mark. Chapters like, “The Forty Miles of Bad Road,” “Fangio’s Pipe,” and “Tenement for a Sergeant” darken the pages with suspense and horror. The goosebump-inducing plot of groundhog days in a vast desert makes it difficult to look away from the page. While enjoyable on their own, each story has enough texture to continue on to longer form stories like novels or sequels. The set-up and characters inspire people to want to know more each time one story world ends and another begins.
“The Story of Zeb” enchanted me completely. It features a journalist, a man that can walk on water, and a lucky shoelace. While it doesn’t build suspense or shock us like other stories do, the mythical, epic tone elevates the mood greatly. The story of Zeb and his unfortunate hamartia drifts by with ease and provides images as clear as the sky.
I do wish I could have connected a bit better with the female characters in the collection though. The sole female protagonist in “The Way of the Wind” has no crusade that makes me think about her; instead the story focuses on weed. Other female characters, like the serpent and Dr. Lind, have promising introductions but are not given much of a chance to shine.
The ending is not at all what I expected, but it’s the perfect thread that stitches all the stories together. It makes us appreciate all of the little details sprinkled throughout the stories that tease out the ending. While I did want to get a little bit more of everything, I still left plenty satisfied that I came. This is the kind of book that will leave a lasting impression.
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