In the hands of up-and-coming author Christopher Meeks, the ordinary becomes extraordinary. His short story collection, Months and Seasons, focuses on the mundanity that pervades the life of everyman, and exposes it for all it’s worth – which is more than meets the eye.
In the opening story, Dracula Slinks into the Night, an argument between a man and his wife over whether or not to have a baby is cloaked in a tiff about spontaneity – or is it the other way around? In The Farms at 93rd and Broadway, one man rediscovers himself and his feelings for his wife after she turns into a chicken; the title story explores how trying to validate one’s belief system can lead to its unraveling, a message that repeats itself throughout the collection; in When a Shoe Falls, the temptation of an affair becomes a diversion of debatable neccessity; and in the last story, Breaking Water reveals the beauty of that which once destroyed itself.
Meeks delivers all this with a cleverly cynical pen and seemingly effortless attention to detail.
“Her name was Tasha. Names are important.”
“She wasn’t right for you,” said Henderson. “And since when could you fall for a sorority girl? Aren’t you a little beyond that?” Tasha had been an extra on the previous film they’d worked, Babe with a Blade, about a woman who eats the wrong sushi on a first date and transforms into a vampire trained to kill like a Viking priestess. She’s brought to Iraq to do ultimate good. The extras were for a skinny-dipping scene.
“The heart has its own reasons,” said Cody.
“Don’t make me puke…” -Months and Seasons (pg. 110)
But there’s more. In Meeks’s surprisingly fresh collection, there is no shortage of truth and beauty:
“He looked up from his paper. She leaned toward him, her wavy shoulder-length gray hair falling forward. Her attentiveness for a second reminded him of when they were in their twenties. “Things just felt right there for a moment,” he said. “We’re reading the paper, and I glanced at you, and you looked content. That made me think how we’ve had our ups and downs, but now we have our coffee and the Times together. We’re all right.”
“Yes, you’re right,” she said. “We are. And I love you, too.”
He wasn’t talking about love. She didn’t understand.” -The Farms at 93rd and Broadway (pg. 24)
Even if Meeks’s literary references are lost on some readers, his talent won’t be. With this newest collection of compelling short stories, Meeks teaches us how to learn what we already know.
Christopher Meeks is also the author of the short-story collection, The Middle-Aged Man and the Sea; Who Lives, a play written in the vein of 12 Angry Men; and his forthcoming novel, The Brightest Moon of the Century. Visit his blog at The Red Room: Where the Writers Are.
The Brightest Moon of the Century by Christopher Meeks
White Whisker Books
March 7, 2009