Two Recos: Bang Crunch and God is Not Great
Neil Smith’s collection of short stories, Bang Crunch, is a smart, unflinching look at humanity, including life, death, loss, solace and beauty.
The book starts off with a bang (heh), with the powerful "Isolettes". A mother watches over her daughter, born at 24-weeks, in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, trying unsuccessfully to feel the love she’s expected to feel. In "B9ers" a man trying to understand his body’s betrayal starts a support group for victims of benign tumours (how harmless is benign?!) In the title story, written in the second person, a young girl with a rare disease, Fred Hoyle Syndrome, ages a month a day.
Original and whimsical, the stories hold your attention for their duration. Don’t rush through it though—set the book aside between the tales while you ponder what you’ve just read.
Neil Smith lives in Montreal; Bang Crunch is his first book.