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Nothing Looks Familiar Shawn Syms

Nothing Looks Familiar

Shawn Syms

Published
ISBN : 9781551525709
Paperback
181 pages
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 About the Book 

Sharp-eyed tales about outsiders, non-conformists, and iconoclasts.In Nothing Looks Familiar, Shawn Syms debut story collection, characters from a wide swath of society chart paths from places of danger or unhappiness into the great unknown, eachMoreSharp-eyed tales about outsiders, non-conformists, and iconoclasts.In Nothing Looks Familiar, Shawn Syms debut story collection, characters from a wide swath of society chart paths from places of danger or unhappiness into the great unknown, each grappling with a central and sometimes unanswerable question: if you fight to change your circumstances, could it be possible to reconfigure your very identity? From bullied kids to meth-smoking mothers, characters in dire straits take measures―sometimes drastic ones―to take charge of their own fates.With a particular focus on the lives of the downtrodden and marginalized, Nothing Looks Familiar marries a vivid and distinct sense of place―the sights and smells of a meatpacking plant- a church-basement meeting hall full of sexual abusers―with universal themes such as the nature of friendship and relationships, and the configuration of the self. In this book, men and women alike struggle to cope, to survive, and to transform their surroundings- each of them is determined to come out the other side changed. In these richly drawn, deeply nuanced stories, nothing may look familiar, but everything is up for grabs.Advance praise for Nothing Looks FamiliarThe stories in Nothing Looks Familiar pitch the reader into a world of meth addiction, cheque forgery, botched muggings, and dead-end jobs in abattoirs. This is uncompromising work—kinetic, gripping, affecting, and terrifyingly true to life.—Steven Heighton, author of The Dead Are Still Visible and AfterlandsShawn Syms’s writing is lean and fearless. His stories are provocative and perceptive. From the hardest addictions to fluid online identities, Nothing Looks Familiar proves that everything is still discoverable.—Emily Schultz, author of The BlondesShawn Syms’s debut collection affirms what a lucky few (myself included) already knew — Syms is a talent to be shared. Widely. The lurid and the wholesome, the sexy and the deranged meet and comingle freely in Symss stories, all of which are told with a counter-intuitive precision, a tidiness of mind that is the exact opposite of the interior worlds of his characters. Nothing Looks Familiar is a wonderful ride, and a damned good kick in the head.—RM Vaughan, author of Troubled and Compared to HitlerI’ve been saying that Shawn’s stories shimmer and sparkle ever since I first encountered them. They are queer in the way all our interiors are queer—radically singular, cruel, gentle, wrong, vulnerable, and erotically secret. I don’t know another writer like him for facing down the strange with such warmth of heart.—Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer, author of All the Broken ThingsHere was my experience reading each and every story in Nothing Looks Familiar: I’d arrive—breathlessly and often shockingly—at its end, and I’d have to set the book down. I’d have to think through my own assumptions, and how Shawn Syms was challenging me to look deeper, to find our common humanity, our fear and fury and joy. His range is incredible- we’re in the mind of the kid who punishes himself for swearing, the heart of the eighty-year-old woman so desperately wanting to be touched, the hopes that the meth addict has for her children, and countless others, all drawn in direct, unflinching, near-cinematic prose. The best story writers ask us to look past what’s familiar. Count Shawn Syms among the best.—Megan Stielstra, author of Once I Was Cool and Everyone Remain Calm