Things to Do When You’re Goth in the Country: And Other Stories
Ranging from the mundane to the bizarre, the eight stories in Things to Do When You’re Goth in the Country offer glimpses into the lives of people living within and without, a part of and separate from the things they hold dear. Several protagonists return to the places they call home, small towns and churches and cemeteries that signify some secret wish or fear, while a few are trying to leave or escape. A few stories take an absurdist turn bordering on science fiction, but in all cases the characters themselves question their reality, realizing “if everything is barely possible, then the impossible is not far from possible.”
References to pop culture, prominent philosophers, and critics pepper the stories, though, at times, the name-dropping is a bit forced, and some of the situations feel cliché. However, the stories driven by younger protagonists, like “Zombie,” “What’s Happening on the News?,” and the title story, pack the most punch, perhaps because the things that inspire and scare us as children so often define us as adults. Ultimately, the twenty-first century, from the conflict in the Middle East to drug addiction in the heartland, is at the heart of these stories. This is a collection that intentionally tries to reflect the world in which we live now and does so with emphasis on our shared humanity.
Seven Stories Press