Author: Atom Yang
Publisher: MLR Press
Cover Artist: Kris Jacen
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Publication Date: 03/24/2016
Length: Novella (~ 15K-50K)
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Fiction, Gay, Gay Fiction, Gay Romance
Herc thought he had the perfect life: a great partner and a meaningful career as a psychotherapist–until his partner left him a week ago and Herc became too depressed to see his clients. When a random meteorite punched a tidy hole in his car’s engine, it seemed like the world had it in for him, but bumping into Pyotr, the handsome older man who’s moved in a couple of doors down and happens to study things like falling stars, things might be looking up for Herc–and more may be falling than the skies in this light-hearted, apocalyptic romance.
Why couldn’t it have been a pretty shooting star that vaporized all sparkly in the atmosphere, so I could make a wish? Instead, it’d dropped a deuce on my perfectly maintained car.
Oh, Herc, we’ve all been there. Well, maybe not exactly, but I can identify with your shocked self.
I’m already liking you and your intelligent, snarky, heartbroken self. Yeah, more on that last one later.
Nestori, you are a fantastic friend to our man, Herc. Supportive, intuitive, if a little slow on the uptake in realizing when you make a pretty funny joke. ~hi5~
Pyotr, you seem patient, playful, and you enjoy giving Herc that smile with a twinkle in your eye. Me thinks there be some strength behind that look.
This is a sweet, funny story with fun cultural references and just enough emotion to keep things grounded (you’ll see what I did there once you read this) and give the characters some literary meat on which a reader can chew.
Some passages are overly detailed, leaving nothing to the imagination. There’s also the overuse of the poor ol’ comma. However, there is a wonderful sense of place that continues to build all throughout the story.
I’ll say this without a doubt and much enjoyment: Atom Yang can turn a phrase. It might get flowery here and there but, lawdy, it feels good while reading it.
The dirt, stones, and trees gave off heat they had soaked up during the day, and their warmth came to us on pleasant breezes.
I like Yang’s ability to surprise me with his characterizations, too. Maybe ‘surprise’ isn’t the right word. Instead, he gives us that wonderful mix of the unique and relatable. There just isn’t enough of that in literature. We have two people here who care about more than just themselves, are currently facing some challenges, and end up meeting one another at just the right time for… fun? A future? Love? Survival?
Adding all of this together results in such an enjoyable reading experience. These are the types of stories that keep me reading contemporarily-set books when they aren’t my first choice.
And this right here? This is one of my favorite examples of Yang’s storytelling:
I smiled, and it surprised me – that I could be smiling now when for the last week, my life had been categorically over and I had resigned myself to being owned in the future by nine cats, each named after a member of the Fellowship of the Ring. And I’m allergic to cats.
Yeah, it’s a bit clumsy in the phrasing but it’s full of heart and sunny humor and truth. And creativity. You can improve in the writing itself. There’s no teaching creativity. Yang can improve on the former and already has the latter in bucket loads.
Also, Yang made me swoon. True story.
This is the second of Yang’s stories I’ve read and I continue to see progress, growth, and confidence in his storytelling. He presents every day people in unexpected and extraordinary circumstances, and that makes for enjoyable reading for me.
I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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