Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Theory of Light & Matter by Andrew Porter (a review)

The Theory of Light and Matter: Stories
4 out of 5: The Theory of Light and Matter, a collection of ten short stories, won last year’s Flannery O’Connor Award for short fiction, and it’s a deserving winner. Porter’s stories confront the everyday challenges of marriage and parenting and the difficulties of growing up. While exploring these ordinary themes in suburban settings, these stories reveal the subtle ebb and flow of relationships, the complexities of interacting that lie below the surfaces of normal lives, with insight and sensitivity.

Porter’s casual prose gives his stories an aura of reality. Nothing is strained, and the dialog is convincing. Although casual, it’s a studied casualness. The sentences are carefully crafted, the words conscientiously chosen, and everything is in its place. Although I sometimes wished for something apocalyptic to happen, that would’ve been out of character for these stories. These intelligent and well-crafted stories, though occasionally lacking in action, are a joy to read. The book, published by the University of Georgia Press, is beautifully designed. The understated and elegant look is the perfect complement to these stories.

Last fall, Porter read from The Theory of Light and Matter at Brazos Bookstore in Houston. Read my post about the event here.

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