paper • 176 pages • 19.95
Although the characters in Pourciau’s stories change face, story to story they all inhabit a world dominated by interior voices revealing fragmented selves. They find difficulty making their inner worlds, with their competing narratives and emotions, fit into the world surrounding them. As they confront everyday predicaments and encounters, they are oftentimes averse to expressing their thoughts, thereby leading themselves deeper into a conflicted interior landscape.
I’ve been looking without success for more regular work, but to make ends meet I earn money by watching
houses for people on vacation. This one guy whose house I’ve been watching is the biggest jerk I’ve ever worked for, the reach of his rapacious and mean-spirited nature stretching all the way across the Atlantic Ocean. Our agreement is for me to drop by his place on Wednesdays and Sundays while he travels Europe for six weeks, and he’s provided me with a highly specific to-do list that shows he wants to leave as few decisions as possible to my discretion. It includes the exact number of windows I should check, all the places I should search on all fours for leaks, the number of times I should flush his toilets, which day of the week I should start his Audi, and how many minutes I should let water run from his faucets and his shower and tub. He has friends who’ve hired me so he must know what my rate is, but he’s one of those guys who likes to grind you down to get the best deal, to exploit any angle against you.
In Glen Pourciau’s wondrously crafted and surprising stories, characters lead measured lives until unconscious desires break free and disrupt the superficial calm. Pourciau meticulously peels back the surface of the ordinary to expose the emotional threat that lies beneath so that a simple trip to the mall becomes a tale about the dangers and deceptions of intimacy. These epigrammatic stories are fleet, plainspoken, and direct and they will get under your skin and unsettle you to your core.
I’ve never been interested in books that solve mysteries. No. I much prefer those like Glen Pourciau’s View, a collection that describes the boundary where what’s everyday meets the mysterious. View allows its reader to swim in life’s inexplicable depths, floating through stories that glow with a strange, new, irresistible light.
A profound book. Glen Pourciau illuminates the commonplace and reminds us that the greatest mysteries are found in the quiet, unspoken, and often uncomfortable intimacies of our lives. These stories transcend their everyday settings to conjure up a startlingly true portrait.
…These stories are most compelling when they get weird. Highlights include “Bolger,” about a wealthy man trying to convince the narrator to write his biography; “Tunnel,” in which a neighbor’s offer to purchase the narrator’s house leads him down a paranoid path; “Self-Service,” about one man’s rapid-fire trip to a movie theater; and “Buffalo,” in which a man’s frustration with his employer has dire consequences for the rats he’s been hired to remove. Pourciau writes well about low-simmering tensions—sometimes among neighbors, sometimes within a family, and sometimes between people with an economic connection. He touches on questions of power dynamics and class, which seems very much in keeping with the tradition he’s working in….”Bolger” in particular is a standout.