cover image That's When the Knives Come Down

That's When the Knives Come Down

Dolan Morgan. Aforementioned Press (, $16.50 trade paper (226p) ISBN 978-1-941143-00-1

Morgan debuts his refreshing talent in a collection of 12 short stories that are as bizarre as they are brilliant. Germanely punctuated by Robin E. Mork's playful graphite drawings, the collection is driven by an idiosyncratic and absurd mind ("Driving across the Mason-Dixon Line is like diving into America's underwear"), disarming the reader of his or her expectations, and instead, proffering something far more alluring. It's not always clear what, exactly, Morgan is up to, say, when a man gets a phone call from a musky-voiced real estate scammer and ends up drinking a Bloody Mary with a talking anus, but with most stories, it's best to just go along with it. They hinge on the vast in-between, the plausible and the implausible, action and inaction; "I have found this balance between choosing to do something and allowing my choices to happen to me" one character says, sitting in a diner eating pie in a diner rather than attending the funeral of his lover's mother [33]. "Experimental" would be a misleading term for this one-of-a-kind book, Dolan's words in "Kiss My Annulus" would be more accurate: "a blooming genital spilling over with peppers and ground beef and desire and boundless wealth." (Aug.)