As the author admits in the afterward, these pieces feel more like "sketches" than stories with conventional plot and character. Many end at odd places or don't end at all. Scattered through the stories are moments of isolation, confusion and foreboding. Some pieces (like the essayistic "Indolence: Notebooks") investigate a philosophical idea to such absurd lengths that one is almost tempted to take a nap.
In one of the lighter pieces ("3 Fake Recommendation Letters,") Balengo submits fake recommendation letters (by Rabelais, Kafka and Hans Christian Anderson) to an MFA program. In a more somber story ("The Deletionist") a disgruntled system administrator tries to delete as much of his digital footprint as he can - with mixed results.
Written in plain, careful language, this debut collection by Alberto Balengo depicts people (and creatures) trying valiantly to investigate a world that seems neither rational nor reassuring.
Alberto Balengo (a pseudonym) was born in New Mexico and has lived most of his life in Texas. He works in health care and received his bachelor's degree from the Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University. He loves dogs but hates football.
Brittany Bethurem is an illustrator and comic artist whose work is infused with inspiration from nature, fantasy stories, and myths. In 2020, she launched her fantasy-adventure comic, The Falling Lands, available to read online at thefallinglandscomic.