A collection of weird and dysfunctional short stories, Charactered Pieces picks at the scabs of life we prefer to ignore or pretend don’t exist. Caleb Ross describes his uncomfortably familiar characters inside of sentences that burst with purple prose and brutal truth.
A guy goes his entire life blaming everyone else for his problems, then a blank slate drops from between a pair of legs and now the only thing he cares about is not being a point of blame himself, Alex confesses about fatherhood in “An Optimist is the Human Personification of Spring”, the third of seven stories. Like so many people we know, Alex can’t change who he is despite the best motivation nagging at him.
From a mother-daughter relationship becoming a parody of itself to a man living in a cul-du-sac of dejection – even his dog stopped greeting him when he came home – Ross shows us humanity stripped bare.
Oft fragmented in the post-modern style, Charactered Pieces is best read the same way you eat an elephant: one bite at a time. For those who enjoy the works of Kurt Vonnegut or Dave Eggers, this book is for you. If you only have time for one with your morning coffee, read “Refill”. Then come back and fill up on more.