Synopses & Reviews
In this debut collection of eight compulsively readable stories, Vestal McIntyre combines honesty and compassion with hilarious dialoguebringing together the comic milieu of David Sedaris with the spot-on perceptions of Adam Haslett's You Are Not a Stranger Here. With "ONJ.com," a young woman in advertising decides she wants a gay man in her life, almost as if she were shopping for a poodle. Unluckily, the gay man she finds, a good-looking and fast-talking freelancer, isn't as pleasant and "fun" as she had hoped. In the loopy "Dunford," a lonely, aging architect with a suppressed fascination for female escorts decides impulsively to take the opportunity of his wife's absence to set up a date. Sadly for Dunford, he realizes too late that his escort doesn't share his penchant for masturbation in car washes. Quieter notes are sounded in "Foray" about a bookish teenaged recluse discovering an unexpected emotional connection to his family after his mother asks him to read Moby Dick to his young, mentally retarded cousin. And "Nightwalking" centers on a woman sleepwalker whose mother's death frames the occasion for a rocky family reunion. You Are Not the One marks the auspicious arrival of an exciting new talent.
"Carroll & Graf's cover copy claims that McIntyre 'brings together the comic milieu of David Sedaris with the exquisite crafting of Alice Munro,' and while McIntyre does offer quirky scenarios (teenage hoodlums kidnapping a kid in a kangaroo costume; a 40-something wife performing a cocaine-fueled interpretive dance for a roomful of younger strangers) and moments of subtle insight (though they are hardly Munrovian), what he delivers primarily is a kind of unharnessed intelligence and insufficiently edited creativity, which he demonstrates in a bumpy series of eight stories revolving around the need for love and acceptance, whether it is from a lover, oneself or one's pet octopus. In 'Binge,' cocaine-snorting Lynn attends a party, ruminates on her attraction to a younger woman, considers her annoyance at her husband and, after the aforementioned dance, finds redemption of a sort thanks to a subway preacher. As an attempt at poignancy, it falls flat; it reads like a sudden end-stop for a garrulous narrator. 'Octo' is similarly challenged, as a boy must part with his beloved and now deceased pet octopus, and a roller-coaster ride serves to symbolically link him in terror with his nasty sister. 'ONJ.com' and 'Disability,' which consider complicated relationships between young gay men and their associates, ring true, however; the latter especially points to McIntyre's promise. Agent, Mitchell Waters. (Jan.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
In this debut collection of eight compulsively readable stories, McIntyre combines honesty and compassion with hilarious dialogue, marking the auspicious arrival of an exciting new talent.