Rory Miller continues to surprise us. In his first book DISCOVERING BEAUTIFUL: ON THE ROAD TO SOMEWHERE he had this reader convinced there was a special talent in his mind and hands, a sort of medieval minstrel cum jester that measures the temperature of the times and has the wisdom to insert raucous (well, maybe sometimes 'subtle') humor in just the right proportions to keep us all on track.
The same can be said about the very different but equally satisfying book IN THE LAND OF THE BALLOON-SHAPED MONKEYS. This book is a collection of short stories, fragments of thoughts, poems, unresolved comedic situations that are supposed to make the reader beg for just a bit more, and then to sum it all up, miller ends up telling us about himself, his ridiculously panopolic CV, and a letter to the reader to consider him as an applicant for just about any kind of work imaginable. But that is the end of the book. In the middle of this are stories that will make the reader blush not because of the topic but because of the proximity of the topic to our own experiences! In 'Imagine' we meet a typical Rory Miller character: 'Crazy old Bob! He stinks like a sewer; he blows off everywhere he goes; he wafts it in people's faces as he passes them in the street.' Miller then lets Bob talk to us about the simple pleasures of flatulence and the pages grow funnier with each turn.
in 'Etherington Noose' Miller simply plays with words in a manner that comes close to distracting form the story: 'It was the night of the first ever British televised miniscule little presidential debate an I'd gone down the barky park for a pint of celebratory shandy with these three old guys I'd known back in the war: we'd all been sinperoonied together coming loaded with éclairs out of a Belgium cake shop in '43 and I was the only one that'd clogged it. Funny thing is, now that they're all ancient and incontinent I can't help but feel like I got the chicken breast and they got the arse.'
When he gets down to poetry, his humor is more self focused: Untitled
As a poet and writer I spend endless hours in front of a computer Playing pacman And looking at dirty pictures.
Needless to say, Unpublished.
Rory Miller may not be everyone's cup a tea, but if you sit with him (as a book in your hand or lap) for any length of time, you grow into his funky humor and inventive writing. Hope he keeps it up! Grady Harp, August 10
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About the reviewer
Grady Harp (gradyharp)
Grady Harp is a champion of Representational Art in the roles of curator, lecturer, panelist, writer of art essays, poetry, critical reviews of literature, art and music, and as a gallerist. He has presented … more
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A collection of short stories and poems covering such diverse subjects as the end of the world, having long hair in a working class town, falling in love with a fly, farting, and thesauruses. Also includes a story that has been known to induce temporary blindness in rabbits. Rabbits, you have been warned!