World Sick: Stories by Jason Simon
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
If it were possible for me to review this objectively, I probably wouldn’t rate it so highly. It’s not perfect. It’s insular and, in some stories, reads like an inside joke that’s tough to understand without context. It’s odd and has no qualms about narrative sacrifices. It’s sometimes wordy and might have benefitted from a professional editor. It engages in contemporary political discourse without making a larger point.
I wouldn’t dream of being objective here, though. I wrote this, and I’m happy with how it came out. I undertook the project of writing and publishing a single story every month back in 2018. I went back and cannibalized other things I’d written years before without bothering to finish or refine. I stopped caring about whether or not my work was good and focused on just getting it finished. Then, I spent a few months proofreading and wordsmithing, and these are the results. I wrote these stories during an incredibly low period in my life, and creativity was, more than anything else, what saw me through.
As for the stories themselves, I can’t rate them objectively, but I’m proud of them, weird as they are. My favorites are the short ones like “The Real Authentic” and “The Williams Maxim” that deal with particular scenes or character sketches rather than full-fledged plots. Others I enjoy just because I worked on them so long. The longest story in the collection “Flammable Girl Sets House on Fire” I wrote and rewrote between 2013 and 2015 before I finished it in late 2018. “Haraam-O-Rama” I started sometime in 2011 and finished in early 2019. For my personal connection to this book as well as the fact that it’s the realization of a childhood dream of writing a book, I have no hesitation about giving this book five stars.
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