Reasons for and Advantages of Breathing by Lydia Peelle is the kind of short story collection that both inspires you to stop reading every fifteen pages to try your own hand at writing and to feel like you might as well never try to write again.
I can see why folks thought I should read it. She covers a lot of the same ground I do in the ghost stories, but, ha, you know, in really literary ways.
I did decide after seeing that she got permission for two lines of lyrics of a song from the 30s to cut the snippet of lyric I had to “Sweet Leilani.” The characters are still singing it. You just don’t get any hint of the words.
Peele’s stories are unrelentingly depressing, but in a way that makes you kind of stand back in awe of how right-on they feel. I mean, lord, this is a collection in which the death of a dog somehow feels beautiful and hopeful.
I read a bunch of reviews this morning and I will say this–this is not the kind of book you can count on reviews about, at all. Even the best of them don’t really get at what’s going on in the book. They make the stories seem too small and too ordinary and too pat.
It’s a quick read. I got the first of two things I wanted to get done on my book done and I still had time to read the whole thing last night. It’s a good one.