Please: Fiction Inspired by The Smiths, edited by Peter Wild (called Paint a Vulgar Picture in the U.K.). Strangely, it doesn't even feature the author that I was looking for so I'm not exactly sure why it came up. But I couldn't resist checking it out and I've just finished what turned out to be an interesting mix of stories. Some were awesome, others were, well, not.
There are 24 stories in the volume, each with a Smiths song as the title. However, I found it hard to find a connection with most of the stories and their namesakes -- either thematically or emotionally. It wasn't until the seventh story and its Scottish brogue and suicidal story that I got the feeling that the author actually listened to and "got" The Smiths. And then the real joy for me came with the tenth story, Oscillate Wildly, based on song with no lyrics. This one was what I thought they all should have been -- bleak and moody but also funny! After all, it featured the stone genitals taken from the angel at Oscar Wilde's grave.
A few more of the stories were close but a bit too serious. One of the best things about The Smiths and Morrissey is the hidden humor in many of the lyrics. Morrissey is a man with a great sense of humor. After all, he's the type who pulled a banana out of the front of his trousers during a concert! That's why Matt Beaumont's story I Want the One I Can't Have was one of the best of the volume. It's an author's lament at having received an assignment to write for the "inspired by Duran Duran" anthology instead of The Smiths' one. It was hilarious. And Peter Wild's satirical political story was also funny in a dark way and just the sort of thing I can imagine Morrissey laughing at. And then I hit Cemetry Gates. This was an amazing story about two people who have fallen in love while both terminally ill. I loved it.
So, the few gems in the book were worth picking up this book for. And I have a feeling that this is the sort of book that each reader, Smiths fan or not, will appreciate in a different way.
"There's more to life than books, you know, but not much more." -- Handsome Devil, Morrissey
Spending warm summer days indoors,
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