Slipping into Laredo is like falling into a dreamy landscape that almost feels like a home through the looking glass. Life is similar but something entirely different and entirely Rauch’s. He is the master of this world and the way he loops his words together only adds to the dream world he is building.
Rauch is a master of wordcraft. He is able to, with just the softest turn of phrase, bring something alien into complete and clear focus. His narrators are honest and clear about the world around them. One of my favorite moments in the short story collection is in the story, “Once I saw a pretty girl”, where the narrator notes, “It was as if fate were calling out to me, as if it were giving me a chance to define myself, and how many times in life do we get a chance to define ourselves?”
These are bizarre worlds where girlfriends became ant-sized, extra arms and fingers appears, and people float away for no reason, but above all else, these are stories about people. Real people who face real issues of life in strange and fantastic ways that remind me of just how odd life can truly be at times.
This is Tony Rauch’s second collection of short stories, and I suggest you check it out asap. If you’ve got a taste for the strange, the thoughtful and the well-written then run on over and buy your own copy.