Thursday, March 08, 2012

Four D

Gregory Morrison has written one of the strangest (and most interesting) books I have read in the last several years.  Four D, Morrison’s collection of four short stories, is both confounding and thought provoking.  At times, particularly during the book’s first offering, “Space,” I had little idea where the story was heading or what had really happened in the portions of it I had already read.  I hate to admit it, but the story was probably over my head.  Hoping to clear up at least some of my confusion, I pressed on to “Four Rooms.”

“Four Rooms” is not quite as surreal as “Space,” and I was able to lose myself in this story of a young woman trying to negotiate her way through a series of interconnected rooms and doors.  She has no idea why, or how, she has ended up in such a place, but she is determined to escape this trap.  Several times, she finds herself at what seems like the end of the line – much like what one experiences in working a maze puzzle – but eventually, sometimes through sheer luck, manages to find her way to the next room.  Again, I am not at all sure of Morrison’s real meaning here, but I enjoyed the nerve-wracking atmosphere the story evoked.

Gregory Morrison
Morrison uses a much more straightforward, linear approach in the book’s third story, “Luigi.”  Luigi wants to change his life, and he does it by burning every bridge linking him to his past and present life.  That includes employers, friends, and lovers.  He is not a man I would want to sit down to dinner with, but Luigi is a character that I will remember for a long time.  Watching him so recklessly dismantle his life is similar to the feeling one gets when trying not to stare at the aftermath of a bad car wreck while slowly working one’s way around it.  This is an excellent short story.

The final story, written more in the surrealistic style of the first two, is entitled “Guest” and, at only 18 pages, it is by far the shortest story in the collection.  The story’s brevity, however, did not make it any easier for me to understand its author’s intent or message.  All I can say for certain about reading this one is that it left me with a distinct feeling of dread - a very moody story.

Four D is Gregory Morrison’s debut work.  While I will remain somewhat bewildered by most of what he has written here, I sincerely applaud him for the creation of “Luigi.” 

Rated at: 3.0

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