Saturday, September 15, 2012

Review: "Refresh, Refresh" by Benjamin Percy

To be honest, this book, Refresh, Refresh by Benjamin Percy, is one I was looking forward to reading more than any other book on my reading horizon. He is a young gun barely being in his 30’s, which attracts me more than older writers, and he is getting praise for his genre like tales from the likes of Peter Straub and Daniel Woodrell, two very season writers in their separate fields of fiction. And, for the most part, this is a solid collection of stories that tease you with full on horror, but are really grounded in a sense of reality and human experience. Percy is more in vain with someone like a Dan Chaon or Daniel Woodrell, who use horror elements like violence, psychological unease or twists of fate and personality to describe a type of experience that is all too real for the human race, both sad and optimistic. Some of my favorites in this collection are the title story, which tells of two adolescent boys who seek solace in violence between each other to distract them from bullies and their fathers being shipped off to war. “The Woods” is another cool gem that takes Raymond Carver’s story “So Much Water So Close To Home” into full-on Bigfoot territory. “The Killing” is cool revenge tale, and while the story “Whisper” is kind of dull, it ends with cool twist that rewrites what you have read up to that point. While a lot of these stories are good, some are duds, such as “Meltdown” a post-apocalyptic story that never gets off the ground, and “The Caves of Oregon” which promises something nefarious, but never delivers. But this is a pretty solid collection that makes up for its weak spots with the potential this young writer has to create something outstanding and marvelous.
Rating: 4/5

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