Zelenyj, Alexander - Blacker Against The Deep Dark
Bought this a few years ago, examined it, suffered pangs of buyers remorse.
Even before the title page is a gatefold of accolades. Fifteen presses declare how great our author is, and by extension, how insecure. The inside dustjacket bears a photo, masked. Either offer a photo or don’t, but don’t pretend to be Banksy.
Anyway, three years after receiving this, I started reading.
“Highway Of Lost Women” follows four friends across the spontaneous roadtrip. Northbound, destination wherever. In their 30’s, no longer young, their teenage dreams gone.
“The Ocean Closes At Midnight” recounts the annual reunion. Maria and Phillip, youth long buried. The future they had hoped for was lost though overconfidence or pride. Do they even exist? Or are they simply lingering memories?
Just John wishes upon a star and, to his astonishment, his wish may be granted. An alluring, red-skinned female alien offers to eradicate his pain. With a handful of paragraphs, we understand Just John, his anguish, and the cataclysmic possibilities of his decision. In “Loneliness The Hunter” Zelenyj broadstrokes characters, setting and conflict. He fails, however, to deliver a satisfying “prestige.” The ending simply squats.
That, sadly, is a problem with the midsection of tales. Poor, uninspired or unfinished resolutions. He is hardly unique. I have read too many from writers who are not proper story-tellers. Similar to the soul at the office or party who blunders the anecdote and shrugs, “I guess you had to be there.”
“From Parts Unknown” is for ringside fight fans, and this nails it. Wrestler Monster Rollinski, bruised from years of pile drivers and flying tackles longs for – an answer to his mysterious youth.
Then there is “Kill Them And Kill Them (And Pray For Something Good)”. The protagonist, performance artist Burton Chosky, is a shame-faced appropriation of G G Allin. Perhaps our author imagines a new generation never heard of Allin, or his story. Jesus Horatio Christ.
“I’m your prisoner, you’re my spider!” is one of the panting outbursts during the climax of mattress action. The tale is adults-only, but it does tie in with one of the comic gems, “Spiderpartment.” The young couple discovers the adjoining apartment has a slight infestation. What should they do? Me, I like spiders. When found inside the house, they are carefully returned outdoors. Unless their web is by the window and they are catching flies. Then they are honored guests. If you also like arachnids, then this story will be a highlight for you, as well.