September 21, 2010

Story review: "Iceland Today," by Joe Meno

Demons in the Spring, by Joe Meno

Rachell Sumpter's illustration of Joe Meno's 'Iceland Today'

Our friends at Akashic Books recently released a new paperback edition of Chicagoan Joe Meno's 2008 story collection Demons in the Spring, complete with illustrations from twenty different visual artists to complement the twenty tales found within, a copy of which is now in my hands and which I'll be reviewing later this fall; but as a promotional project, they've also asked twenty different litbloggers, including myself, to do reviews of the individual stories, with me getting assigned "Iceland Today," illustrated by Rachell Sumpter. And indeed, although I'm flattered to have been asked to participate in a project like this, I've been reminded quickly of why critics generally do not do reviews of individual stories, because there's really not that much to say about "Iceland Today;" although an enjoyable little diversion, it's basically not much more than a funny and poetic eight-page fake travel guide to the isolated country, making up all kinds of charming yet outrageously false details about both the population and landscape but otherwise playing things as straight-faced as a Wikipedia article. ("In the city of Reykjavik, all staircases are now required to be spiral. Over the years of their wonderful history, the people of the capital city discovered that spiral staircases make the most lovely entrances and the most enchanting exists, and in 1903 a city law was passed officially mandating their use.") In any case, I definitely encourage you to check out the book, and I'm looking forward to presenting a longer and more thorough review of it later this autumn.

Read even more about Demons in the Spring: Official site | Amazon | GoodReads | LibraryThing | Shelfari | Wikipedia

Filed by Jason Pettus at 9:58 AM, September 21, 2010. Filed under: Literature | Literature:Fiction | Reviews |