Review: The Ant King: And Other Stories

The Ant King: And Other StoriesThe Ant King: And Other Stories by Benjamin Rosenbaum
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Call me despicable, an ignoramus, whatever villainous epithet you wish; I just didn’t get these stories. I tried. I really did try.

There is very much the device of the parable in these stories, but what the moral of each story was eluded me. Rosenbaum throws aside the conventions of plot arc, character development, environmental description. In fact, he doesn’t seem to use many literary conventions but those of his own devising. Which made me think: maybe I’m just too obtuse to get these stories. I kept feeling the way you do when you can’t remember a name. The knowledge is right there, sliding around behind neurons and ganglia, but despite all your efforts you can’t latch on to that elusive information.

By the time I arrived at the series of vignettes about cities, well, I’d had enough, and it’s not often I give up on a book.

And this from the person who loved Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses.

And if these stories were meant as humour, which the first and titular story is likely supposed to be, well, that eluded me as well. I didn’t find humour in a woman becoming gumballs. Seemed nonsensical and pointless, but then humour is a very personal thing, and it is well known it’s difficult to make me laugh.

So, I’m sorry, Benjamin Rosenbaum. While I appreciate the free download, I’m very glad I didn’t pay for this collection.

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