"Love sometimes requires a willingness to indulge unreasonable requests..." These are the words of a man whose girlfriend does not even begin to understand when the line toward "unreasonable" has been crossed. It is their story that Jacob Appel tells in "La Tristesse Des Hèrissons," the second offering in his short story collection, Einstein's Beach House.
Because Adeline has been unhappy for a while, Josh is happy enough to go along with the idea of bringing a pet into their home. But he pictures something like a Doberman or a German Shepard...a hedgehog with emotional problems never even crosses his mind. Guess what he ends up with? Now, life with a pet hedgehog and a neurotic girlfriend can't be easy, but it can be funny - and Jacob Appel's tale of perhaps the one man on Earth willing to endure such a life kept me smiling from start to finish.
In addition to being an author, Jacob Appel is a psychiatrist and a bioethicist. "La Tristesse Des Hèrissons" is only the second of his short stories I have read, but if the two are an accurate indicator of the rest of his work, Appel's fiction makes good use of his scientific background. For sure, this one was fun.
I look forward to reading the six remaining stories in the Einstein's Beach House collection, and I plan a more formal review of the book for mid-February. Look for it then.