Weird towns, we love to see them, and I’m always interested when a previously rare book is republished. I was excited for Goblin the premise sounded good, I love novellas, and the idea of interconnected stories that tell a greater narrative about a town is solid. The idea is good, but the execution was lackluster at most and terribly boring at worst.
Happy Birthday, Hunter! was my favorite story of the bunch, the characters and atmosphere are perfect, and the ending was satisfying. A Man in Slices was also decent, while it drags at parts, the idea of having a friend that’s not quite right was well delivered. Even for the stories that I didn’t care for as much, Malerman always succeeds in creating creative plots with some genuinely tense moments that give me pause.
These strengths are bogged down by overwritten stories with often predictable or underwhelming endings. A few had the potential to be really great, I always started off liking many of the stories, but the stories meander so much that the point becomes lost, such as in Kamp and Presto. If I were to be perfectly honest, I was very tempted to not finish this book, each story eventually started to become a slog to get through and I started to lose interest during the last couple of stories. I’ll still read more books by Malerman, but this one just didn’t do it for me.
“He hadn’t been thinking directly of ghosts but ghosts always hid in the one place with corners he could not remove. His mind.”