So over a year ago, I snagged an advanced copy of The Pier Falls, but just now found the time to read it. Mark Haddon, author of one of my all time favorite The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, released this collection of short stories and I'm honestly not sure how I feel about it. However, the overall theme? Doom & gloom. There are nine stories in this book, but I've decided to pick my top three favorites and write about those in this review. So, here goes nothin'.
The Pier Falls:
The title story and by far the best one in the collection. It starts on a crowded day with beach-goers milling about, enjoying the day. When the pier begins to collapse and fall and people are dying and running and searching for their loved ones. It only takes an hour and a half for this memory to be burned into the minds of those watching the horrific scene unfold. 64 people are dead and many more injured. Reading this story was almost as if I was there watching it. I could picture every last detail and could feel the pain and horror of those witnessing it.
This story was so grotesque, but incredibly well written. Bunny is an extremely overweight man who can no longer care for himself. His mother has been cooking, cleaning, and caring for him for the past few years. That is until Leah shows up and changes his life. This young nursing student begins caring for him, but more importantly begins spending quality time with him. She makes him feel like a human again, not just a large waste of space. She then asks to marry him and continue their lives together.... but with the dark theme hanging over this collection of stories, I'm sure you can imagine what happens.
The Woodpecker and the Wolf:
This story was odd. I felt a strong connection to ABC's Lost and J.R. Stewart's Nirvana. A crew has been sent many light years away. When something malfunctions, some of the crew has to take one for the team. Becoming doctors, gravediggers, mothers, fathers, and corpses. Each malfunction causes another to die and the remaining crewmembers have to sanction off part of the ship. Waiting for help to come is becoming tiresome and seemingly useless. Will anyone survive? Will help ever come? No one knows what to expect, but what comes is revolutionary.