Wednesday, October 6, 2010

"Blood" by Roddy Doyle

I like to read things in order. Like, for example, when the backs of the Sandman trade paperbacks said that I could, if I desired, read any of the trades in any order, except for the last few, which, the editors kindly suggested, should be read in order.

I didn't buy it.

I read it from the beginning, and that was fine by me.

Likewise, I'm beginning my review of the stories in Stories from the beginning, which is Roddy Doyle's story "Blood."

I wasn't sure what to expect, I've only encountered Doyle once in my literary ramblings, and that was in the New Yorker a few months ago. But the title was promising, and usually the editors of a collection like this one are gonna bring the wood for the lead off position.

They did.

This is a quick, succulent (heh;) read, and has, as one might suspect, plenty to do with blood.

Fear not faithful readers, for this is not yet another in the endless line of vampire tales now festooning the literary landscape in their gory (and sometimes sparkly?) ways.

No, this is something different. (And, as I've now realized - like right this second realized - it's gonna be kinda tough to review short stories like this. I cannot reveal the surprise at the end in good conscience. Otherwise, what would be the point? I'd write and write, and end up rewriting the whole story. And then I'd be accused of's just not a road I want to travel folks.)

But, as I was saying...this is something different. The main character lives in the Irish town, near Bram Stoker's home, and he has - despite my caveat above that this is decidedly not a vampire story - developed a taste, nay a thirst!, for blood. The rest involves his attempts to procure blood in fresher forms while maintaining the charade that he is still, in fact, a normal guy.

Overall, a fast and fun way to open a collection edited by two of the masters of fantasy fiction today.

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