Us He Devours
Fiction by James B. Hall
These fourteen stories are the work of a writer whose exploitation of the language for artistic effect is extraordinary. The visionary, the poetic, the humorous and the surrealistic inform each story, and yet there is no terror merely without responsible intelligence. A maiden lady steals from a bank to buy gifts for a goat which appears at night outside her window; a young married couple “adjust” to our world of time payments and credit; a writer makes his living by selling parts of his own body to unsuspecting insurance companies; a “bandit” is obsessed by the contents of freezers, and steals to feed a river; a doctor takes his dying, extroverted old father away from the home place, and in the process sees the first intimations of his own death. We see the “have nots,” the middle class, artists and professors all caught in worlds they do not fully apprehend. Taken together these stories present a complex view of a hard world.