Sunday, January 6, 2013

Review: The New Death and Others

My rating: 5 / 5

This collection really impressed me.  I'll admit, it took me a while to come around.  It's not my usual thing, but when I started to get what was going on, I was completely hooked.  The New Death and Others is a collection of poems and very short stories.  It's difficult stuff to summarize.  The stories tend to be allegorical, in an ironic and sarcastic way.  The characters are often Death, Destiny, Fate, or Fame.  They make comments on the foibles of modern society, or offer an explanation of what makes cats so smug.

All of it is clever and thought-provoking.  These aren't stories to race through, or stories to divert you on the beach.  It's intelligent, quirky, offbeat, and endlessly unexpected.  It's got some goofy humour, too.  A few stories have footnotes, which direct you to some terrible puns.

I'm not particularly a fan of poetry, but the poetry here worked for me.  I found it accessible but still impactful.  

Above all, this collection is meticulously crafted.  I didn't see a typo in the entire thing, or a single clumsy line.  You quickly realize you're in the hands of a writer who knows exactly what he's doing.  

It's not the same old thing.  Hutchings has an unconventional approach to storytelling, and it won't be for everyone.  But if you are willing to go along, you'll find it's a thoroughly worthwhile ride.

How to buy it:

Barnes and Noble

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