Jodzio, John. “If You Lived Here You’d Already Be Home”, Soft Skull, 2017.
Pain, Humor and Human Existence
John Jodzio’s collection of short stories shows that he is a writer who takes risks. His writing deals with both the pain and humor of human experience as he explores those small truths that come about because of ridiculous and ludicrous situations, and the captivating characters that have to deal with these situations. Jodzio’s literary world is populated with characters that are involved in absurd yet realistic situations and we are very aware of the melancholies and optimism with which they have to deal. We meet characters here that we would most probably never meet otherwise. They show disappointment and her frustrated as they hope for homes that they cannot achieve. What is fascinating is that on one hand the stories are sad, they are also hopeful and there is a tenderness in the cruelty of their lives.
This collection was originally published in 2010 and has had quite a cut following ever since. Now it has been updated and will surely to find a new audience. The common theme of loneliness can be seen in all of the stories. We read about barnacles clinging to places where they should not, experiments that bring strange results, the bemoaning of a dead dog,
Things are swallowed that should not be swallowed, barnacles cling where they do not belong, a suicidal daughter, just to give a few examples. The stories are a breath of fresh air as the characters try to realize themselves and while they are haunting, there is a bit of sweetness in them. Each story takes us to the edge of what we will allow ourselves to believe yet there is realism in each. Yes there are stories here that are both absurd and profane and there is also tenderness. I am a bit tempted to write something about each story but I do not want to spoil the read for anyone. Let me just say that these stories open the mind and the imagination and they are funny, sad, painful, unpredictable. Jodzio looks at his characters’ vulnerabilities and fears and we see how they reveal this in surprising ways.