Droll Tales (MP3 CD)
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A motley crew of tales that are darkly romantic, nightmarish, and altogether weird. While easily presented as absurd art pieces, Smyles finds a way to insert her heart in the main themes and keeps the narratives grounded in the human experience.— Jesse
Witty and surreal tales that transcend rationality and illuminate our world, from America's most original writer
Welcome to the world of Droll Tales, in which reality is a mutually agreed-upon illusion and life is painful, paradoxical, beautiful, and brief. With an oddball cast of characters who reappear in various guises throughout these interrelated stories, Smyles reveals an off-kilter world overlapping this one. And in giving us a tour of this enchanted, sometimes absurd place, with its own workings and ways of expression, she gives us a new way to understand our own.
A young suburban woman runs away to Europe to become a living statue; Mallarm is at long last translated into pig Latin; a house full of surrealists compete for love on a reality TV show; a list of fortune-cookie messages reveals the inner world of the young man employed to write them; and a story of love and betrayal is told through the sentence diagrams on a fifth grader's grammar test.
Romantic, dark, and ironic, Droll Tales is a book like none you have read. It is a joyful interrogation of the paradoxes underpinning life, a cabinet of curiosities, a philosophical vaudeville, a puzzle in fourteen pieces, and a tragicomic riddle articulated in Smyles's singular style, with the mystery of the human heart at its center.