Zomparelli, Daniel. “Everything Is Awful and You’re a Terrible Person”, Arsenal Pulp, 2017.
Unconventional and Interconnected Stories
In the past, I have read Daniel Zomparelli’s poetry and have been very impressed, in fact, I have often quoted his lines in conversations I have had. Now Zomparelli has tried his hand at fiction and he gives us a collection of 32 first-person interconnected and unconventional stories. It is almost as if he has read my mind since I have hungered to read his prose. His stories run the gamut from including text messages and Facebook posts in them and how “gay men look for love, steal office supplies, hook up on Grindr, bake pies, see therapists, have threesomes with ghosts, and fear happiness” From that list you can see that there is something for everyone. There is humor, sarcasm, irony, emotion, tragicomedy, exploration, desire, dysfunction and LOVE.
It is as if Zomparelli has reinvented the short story by uniting poetry and technology and in doing so, he becomes a writer for the present time. thus elevating himself to writer of change and the present. In thinking seriously about the stories, I realized that what they are really about are the lies we tell to make our selves feel better (and to make others feel better as well), He writes of identity; both creation and destruction and when we are pushed to use honesty. The stories are inventive and incisive and very, very readable. They are also “funny, wicked, moving, profane and sad”.
Perhaps what I find so unique in these stories is that they are written with brutal honesty and they challenge us to see ourselves in them. They appeal to our emotions and while we read of such themes as
denial and rejection, loneliness and loss, we see that there is humor here as well as great thought that often provokes us. I can only wonder if the smile on my face as I read is sincere or the result of seeing myself in the words on the page.