Sunday, May 18, 2014

Seeker by Ade Grant

Seeker is a slim collection of six short stories. It doesn't look to have gotten much attention since its release, which is kind of surprising to me. Yeah, it's a bit rough around the edges, meaning it could have stood another round of proofreading, but the writing and storytelling to be found here is pretty darn fine, if you ask me.

Oddly enough, I found the titular story the least interesting of the bunch. It served as a decent enough jumping off point. But if it had been a bit more of a gut punch, I likely wouldn't have set the book down when I saw the second story was a Christmas story. I'm not fond of Christmas stories, especially not in January. Don't ask me why I set it aside and just didn't immediately skip it and read the rest, which I eventually came back months later to do. I have no rational reason for this. And now that I've finished the stories, and put off "Three Ghosts" (the fucking Christmas story!) till last, I'm forced to say it's tied for my favorite of the bunch. Another strike it had against it was that it was told from a overly familiar omniscient viewpoint. But, once I got into it, and saw where it was going and eventually where it went, I was more than pleasantly surprised. There are some wonderful ideas and imagery crammed into this piece, along with a good helping of dark humor. Very well done.

The story "Three Ghosts" is tied with as my favorite from the collection is a post-apocalyptic tale called "The Couch." I wish I could tell you why I liked this one so much. I want so badly to tell you...

All right. The other stories:

"The Abortionist" - Easily the darkest and perhaps gutsiest piece. This is a first-person tale told from the viewpoint of a hitman who specializes in the assassination of small children. Yeah, you read that right.

"Sausages" - Although I enjoyed this story, I think what it eventually morphs into would be more immediately appealing to English folks who are far more likely to catch the cultural reference crucial to its understanding. I got the basics, but had to do a bit of research to fill in some of the pieces.

"The Secret Junction" - I liked this one quite a lot. A Bangkok taxi driver discovers a secret shortcut that saves him a great deal of time and earns him a small fortune. I only wish this would have been twice as long and that it delved deeper into the true nature of the shortcut.

Seeker is the second book I've read my Mr. Grant (the first being the exceedingly grim dark fantasy, The Mariner), and I'm looking forward to reading a third.

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