With this new collection of short stories, Dan Rhodes keeps as his subject the intricacies and deficiencies of desire, but his methods have changed. At some junctures he appears to be aiming for the mythopoetic tone and ominous symbolism of fairy tale--more than one of these pieces, for instance, is set in a dark, foreboding, Hansel-and-Gretel type forest. An example is the story "Painting", where an artist creates a portrait of a lady so beautiful it slays with love all who see it (uncannily like Monty Python's "funniest joke in the world", which kills with laughter all who hear it). Other stories come across as mainstream, but turn out equally pixilated: "Violoncello" evolves from a family saga in modern Vietnam to a weird fable about a boy becoming a musical instrument; "Landfill" has a prosaic face but the undertone is magical realist. Yet one of the very best stories, "The Carolingian Period", is set squarely in a very real world: academia. It tells the melancholy story of an old architecture professor in too much of a hurry, and it shows quite how moving Rhodes can be especially when he isn't turning post-modern literary tricks.
Rhodes's first collection, Anthropology, was a quiver of literary arrows: an ensemble of pointed pithy and often very poignant short stories focusing principally on the anguish and lunacy of love. As such it won much praise and attention, despite, or because of, its peculiarities of style. Don't Tell Me The Truth About Love is no less intriguing. --Sean Thomas
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
‘Funny and unsettling…Fairy stories written with an elegant simplicity.’ Daily Telegraph
‘You won’t find a finer collection of short stories in the land.’ Jockey Slut
‘It is brave of Rhodes to buck the trend for realism…the beauty of his writing is persuasive and his themes are universal.’ The Times
Praise for ‘Anthropology’:
‘They should prescribe this free on the NHS – it’s an absolute gem.’ Jenny Colgan
‘A hilarious exploration of the challenges faced by the fairer sex.’ The Times