The eighteen stories of Manuel Gonzales’s exhilarating first book render the fantastic commonplace and the ordinary extraordinary, in prose that thrums with energy and shimmers with beauty. In “The Artist’s Voice” we meet one of the world’s foremost composers, a man who speaks through his ears. A hijacked plane circles a city for twenty years in “Pilot, Copilot, Writer.” Sound can kill in “The Sounds of Early Morning.” And, in the title story, a man is at war with the wife he accidentally shrank. For these characters, the phenomenal isn’t necessarily special—but it’s often dangerous.
In slightly fantastical settings, Gonzales illustrates very real guilt over small and large marital missteps, the intense desire for the reinvention of self, and the powerful urges we feel to defend and provide for the people we love. With wit and insight, these stories subvert our expectations and challenge us to look at our surroundings with fresh eyes. Brilliantly conceived, strikingly original, and told with the narrative instinct of a born storyteller, The Miniature Wife is an unforgettable debut.
The trouble with collections of short stories is that it’s really hard to have different voices for every story. Most of the time they all start sounding alike. I absolutely loved this collection because even though the stories were all different and very unique, none of the narrators sounded alike. This was a brilliant first novel by Manuel Gonzales.
All of the stories were so inventive and so surreal that this book really held my attention from beginning to end. I don’t think there was one that fell short for me. Some of my favourites were “The Disappearance of the Sebali Tribe” where two anthropologists disappear after discovering a new tribe, and the TWO zombie stories “All of Me” and “Escape from the Mall” that reminded me of Warm Bodies and Dawn of the Dead. Other good ones were “Wolf” about a man who turns into a werewolf and how his family copes and “Farewell, Africa”, which is a really strange story about what happens when the continent of Africa sinks.
These are really weird stories, but there’s something utterly charming and captivating about them. I’m addicted to this author already and definitely going to check out any future books he writes.
- A Familiar, Yet Suprisingly Original Adventure (litconic.com)
- An Interview with Manuel Gonzales (litconic.com)