really short reviews

Welcome to Rain Taxi’s Really Short Reviews! Here we present short pieces by staff members past and present. RSRs will post occasionally on this page throughout the year. For eclectic assortments from the previous years, visit these links:

2013 Really Short Reviews
2014 Really Short Reviews
2015 Really Short Reviews

When He Sprang From His Bed, Staggered Backward, And Fell Dead, We Clung Together With Faint Hearts, And Mutely Questioned Each Other

Christopher Kang Green Mountains Review Books ($15) The title of Christopher Kang's collection of 880 micro-stories, When He Sprang From His Bed, Staggered Backward, And Fell Dead, We Clung Together With Faint Hearts, And Mutely Questioned Each Other, reads like many of the stories in the collection itself: sharp, absurd, and rife with provocative, ironic […]

The Folly of Loving Life

Monica Drake Future Tense Books ($15) The Folly of Loving Life, Monica Drake’s book of interconnected short stories, bears an earnest title that might make a certain reader roll their eyes, but its darkly funny tone and sharply drawn characters are anything but obvious. The collection follows the lives of sisters Vanessa and Lucia, a […]

Great River Road: Memoir and Memory

Madelon Sprengnether New Rivers Press ($17) Madelon Sprengnether is a student of memory. Throughout her new memoir, Great River Road, she calls on some of the heavy hitters of the subject—Freud, Proust, neuroscientists—to bolster what she knows from self-study: that past, present, and even future are a flux of experience. In the book’s insightful preface, […]

The University of Pennsylvania

Caren Beilin Noemi Press ($15) Caren Beilin’s novel The University of Pennsylvania is a delightful affront to phallocentric sensibilities. Subversive, challenging, and oftentimes surreal, Beilin’s transgressive account of “womb duplication”—an affliction of continual menstruation that strikes University of Pennsylvania undergrad Olivia Knox—defies narrative expectations down to its very use of language. A multitude of vague, […]

The Obscure Side of the Night

Norberto Luis Romero Translated by H.E. Francis Otis Books/Seismicity Editions ($12.95) At only ninety-three pages, half of which are in the original Spanish, Norberto Luis Romero’s The Obscure Side of the Night packs a challenging amount of images in its brief, obscure narrative. Romero’s sparse plot accentuates its symbolic ambiguity; to enter these pages is […]

The Uncanny Reader: Stories from the Shadows

Edited by Marjorie Sandor St. Martin’s Griffin ($19.99) Editor Marjorie Sandor defines “the uncanny” not as a literary genre, exactly, but rather as a “genre buster, a kind of viral strain”; she acknowledges that the word itself is slippery and “uncertain.” It’s an intriguing, if precarious, concept on which to base a short story collection, […]

Above the Dreamless Dead

World War I in Poetry and Comics Edited by Chris Duffy First Second ($24.99) A master class in the formidable strengths of the comics medium, this compilation bring unlikely source material—poetry about the first World War—to vivid life. The editor has drawn impressively from the ranks of today’s indie comics practitioners to insure that the […]

The Luminol Reels

Laura Ellen Joyce Calamari Press ($13) A deeply disturbing collection of experimental prose-poems, The Luminol Reels addresses topics which many would prefer went undiscussed. Set in a nightmarishly psychedelic landscape replete with hallucinogenic gore, the work is evocative of a horrifying dream. The loose narrative is comprised largely of violence committed against a pack of […]

Who is Martha?

Marjana Gaponenko Translated by Arabella Spencer New Vessel Press ($15.99) When 96-year-old misanthrope Luka Levadski comes face to face with a terminal illness, he decides to skip out on treatment and spend his last days in luxury at Vienna’s most prestigious hotel. Winner of the 2013 Adelbert von Chamisso Prize for a work whose author’s […]

Victory Over the Sun: The First Futurist Opera

Aleksei Kruchenykh Translated by Larissa Shmailo Edited and with an introduction by Eugene Ostashevsky Červená Barva ($16) The confrontational Victory Over the Sun debuted in 1913 to the same jeers that “provided the ordinary soundtrack to avant-garde art” at the time (fellow Russian Igor Stravinsky’s famously divisive Rite of Spring premiered the same year). Eschewing […]