Ben Tanzer: So Different Now

I just finished reading Ben Tanzer’s latest short story collection from CCLaP, So Different Now. This is a follow up to his previous collection (also published by CCLaP), Repetition Patterns. Before I get into the meat of it, I must confess that I consider Ben Tanzer to be a friend; I also feel the need to let you know that CCLaP published my collection of micro-fiction earlier this year. I’m not even going to pretend that this post is going to be unbiased.

That being said, I do feel the need to justify my biases… I am drawn to Tanzer’s writing for the same reasons I enjoy getting a beer with him: there is a charm, in both his manner and his writing, which is simply entertaining, yet hints at a much more complex, sometimes dark, psychological underpinning. While reading this collection I continuously found myself lulled into the natural cadence of his writing, only to come to the end where I would find myself helplessly sitting in a pot of boiling water, unable to jump out.

While reading So Different Now, I was transported back to the small town in which I grew up. Tanzer does a wonderful job of capturing that Neverland quality of small town barrooms where patrons live in the past and refuse to adopt the adult version of their names (Stevey and Richie). Tanzer is also a master of building, and playing out, the tensions found in everyday relationships.

In my opinion, as biased as it may be, this short story collection is well worth every dime you choose to spend on it; CCLaP offers a Radiohead type purchase option where you pay what you want to for the book (which I personally think is brilliant). Check it out!