Someday This Will Be Funny by Lynne Tillman

1 Nov

Someday This Will Be Funny
Lynne Tillman

Red Lemonade, 164 pages, $14.95

During BookExpo America week, I saw Lynne Tillman read at Brooklyn’s WORD bookstore, and I was compelled to read her newest collection of short stories, Someday This Will Be Funny. As much as I was interested in Tillman as an author, I also wanted to engage with a product of Richard Nash’s new Red Lemonade Project.

 Intimidation is easy to come by, and as I thought about how this was a book that had been reviewed in the New York Times and how this was a book written by an established author, I also thought about how this is a book from a young publisher, a book that while prodding and introspective, is also accessible in that necessary sort of way. It is too much without being too much. It is transformative, but not paralyzing. And so we find, validation comes in many ways.

 While a collection of short stories, Someday This Will Be Funny, is not a collection that can be picked up and set down. At first, I was continuously trying to squeeze in a story here and a story there, and the words were not resonating as I wanted them to. And so, on a Sunday afternoon, surrounded by white walls and beige carpet, sitting on a couch that looks through a window to architecture that could place me anywhere, I immersed myself.

These words require immersion, seeming to say to me as I read, “The longer you spend with me in one period, the more you will benefit.” The collection takes on a sort of study feel. Some stories took over the whole book with their resonance. I felt as though I had been lost in this language for days. Jumping from context to context, I felt an almost overwhelming absorption, an increasing curiosity. Mixing verse and prose, Tillman creates sentences that drive the reader forward in a beautiful game of reflection.

 Tillman reinvents the idea of knowing what to keep and what to discard. She reinforces the idea that what is perhaps most important is telling stories. It was as though the words would not stop coming and when they did, on that final page, I was left wanting, my mind in a kind of wet chaotic expansion.

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