Verdict: This collection of short stories carries with them a message about life that every reader can connect to, an idea that makes each story more then just a fun read.
“Hiding Out”, by Jonathan Messinger, is a collection of stories within a story, a collection of thoughts and ideas within one prevailing concept.
Waysun Tsai is in love. He lives in his dreams, hazily moving through his factory job in China, waiting for the lunch break when he can be with her, or for after work when they walk to the bus stop together. The women of his dreams, Li Wei, runs through Waysuns mind every moment, and as he imagines himself saving her from a group of thugs, or winning the lottery and going on vacation with her, Waysun gets closer to understanding that they will never be together. With half of the tale taking place in his head, Waysun captivates the reader, which is surprising, considering that the story is only nine pages long.
With each of its 15 chapters depicting a different short story, “Hiding Out” does an impressive job connecting each tale, not through characters or storyline, but through a message. By writing 4-20 page stories on anything from teen angst to growing up, each and every narrative fills the reader with a sense of helplessness, and a flashback to a moment where one understands that life is unfair, that the many surprises it holds are rarely desirable. Although the message seems bleak, Messinger manages to send it in style, making each read clever, funny and real.
With stories ranging from man-eating wolves, to an inner-city student competing in a slam poetry competition, the author touches on all walks of life, writing how he feels, in whatever way he chooses to do so.
Reviewed by Josh Heaps
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