"BLIND IN ONE EYE"
119 pages (softback); 33,000 words (manuscript)
BLIND IN ONE EYE is my second short story collection. EMPORIA
is now out of stock. Unlike that first collection, which was just a
gathering of stories written during a certain time (1990-1999), BLIND
IN ONE EYE contains stories around a central theme. To support that
end, not all the material is new. There are two stand-alone chapters
from the Audrey Green books, plus two holdovers from EMPORIA. The remaining
six stories were written in 2003.
All the stories are fairly short (averaging 3000 words.) Each contains
only a few characters. They also share similarities in style, language,
and development. Things are basically really simple and to the point.
Here, I've lifted cues from translated European, Japanese, and French
fiction to create a sort of plain and unornamented narrative. The stories
themselves resemble compact novels, where a lot happens in a short amount
Some of these have been published, some not, but they're all interesting.
Here's a little snapshot of each:
THE TYPIST OF 1943
From "The Numbing of Audrey Green," this was always one of
my favorites chapters. It's the back-story of Audrey's mother and her
romance in the British war offices.
A man with the ability to telephone the dead comes into contact with
a grieving bar owner. Despite the sound of it, not technically a horror
story, but, like THE TYPIST OF 1943, a love story.
An epidemic of car crashes strikes a major city, killing husbands and
children but sparing the wives. This entire story, even the characters
names, was a dream I had one Sunday morning. It really disturbed me;
I just had to write it.
THE DOCTOR OF BOMBAY
Another novel excerpt, this one from "The Search for Audrey Green."
It's mostly a story of class struggles in 1920s India, but slowly a
love story bubbles to the surface.
A LETTER FOUND ON THE TRAIN, UNSENT
Very short piece, originally in EMPORIA, about a man hit on the head
with a suitcase, and the subsequent delusions he has.
Yes, this one is dirty. No one actually touches each other, but there's
a lot of touching themselves (wink.) Despite the subject matter, it's
really about protection.
LOST IN A PARADE
A "did that really happen" story about a man who was separated
from his parents during a major city parade, never to see them again.
Now it's ten years later and he's brought his son and wife to the same
THE 30 DAY BABY COMPANY
This is a genre story about a plague that kills 24 million babies and
an industry of "baby rentals" that sprouts up afterwards.
I quite like it, actually. It's probably the only one that can be described
as a thriller.
Set in Japan after the war, a series of house fires attracts an insurance
investigator to a wealthy neighborhood.
TOMORROW THE GREEN GRASS
My favorite from EMPORIA. Like "Turn Signals," this, too,
is a dream I had. Everyone wakes up with the idea that the world will
end at exactly one o'clock that day. Oooo, spooky.
Unlike EMPORIA, I really believe all these stories are strong. Rather
than a "bit-of-this, bit-of-that," BLIND IN ONE EYE is one
whole piece. If you only read this, you'd think I was a different kind
of writer altogether. It's a real contradiction to the Audrey Green
books, despite having two excerpts.