Title: Minor Sketches and Reveries (Stories) by Alberto Balengo.
These introspective tales feature animals, allegories and melodramas of everyday life. At the center of the stories are tiny creatures (a sparrow, earthworm or paperclip) struggling to make sense of larger mysterious forces. Human protagonists are equally perplexed by ordinary events – like searching for a lost key, watching late night TV, or eating a taco.
As the author admits in the afterward, these pieces feel more like “sketches” than stories with conventional plot and character. Many end at odd places or don’t end at all. Scattered through the stories are moments of isolation, confusion and foreboding. Some pieces (like the essayistic “Indolence: Notebooks”) investigate a philosophical idea to such absurd lengths that one is almost tempted to take a nap.
As you probably know, I run Personville Press, a small literary press. Up to now Personville Press has been publishing only ebook titles by Jack Matthews, and that has certainly kept me busy. But I’ve been meaning to publish other authors as well (including myself). Here’s the first non-Matthews title by a writer I met at Johns Hopkins. His pen name and blogging name is Alberto Balengo, although that is not his real name. Even though I was a graduate student and Alberto was only a freshman, we shared a love for classic & contemporary European fiction. (Both of us were fans of Turgenev and Hungarian author Geza Csath). We have kept in touch over the years — Balengo has been writing a literary blog almost as long as I have (though recently he changed the privacy settings so that the blog is invite only).
Update: I am happy to note that artist Brittany Bethurem will be providing illustrations to the ebook.
The press I edit (Personville Press) will release this story collection on November 1, 2020. It will appear on all the major ebook stores. Its price will be $4.