Our audio series "The Authors Read. We Listen." was hatched in a NYC club during BEA back in 2012. This feature requires more time and patience of the author than any of the ones that have come before. And that makes it all the more sweeter when you see, or rather, hear them read excerpts from their own novels, in their own voices, the way their stories were meant to be heard.
Today, Ryan MacDonald reads from his debut story collection The Observable Characteristics of Organisms, which was recently published with FC2. He is the winner of the 2012 American Short(er) Fiction Award. His work in art and writing has been exhibited performed or published at Notnostrums, New York Live Arts, Fast Forward Press, the Continental Review, Fountain Studios, Flying Object and elsewhere. He teaches art and writing at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst where he received an MFA in English and an MFA in Studio Art. He blogs at http://briefepigrams.blogspot.com/
Listen to Ryan read BRASS TACKS from his collection by clicking on the soundcloud icon below:
The word on The Observerable Characteristics of Organisms:
In Ryan MacDonald’s stories, most no more than a page in length, we are given glimpses of a father and daughter at the zoo; an isolated man lamenting the absence of TV in his life; two young men atop a fridge at a party, drinking wine. These are stories of marriage and family, of the oddities of the natural world, of college parties, of web-cams and media obsession.
Despite the range of circumstances they reveal, these stories are unified by a brightness of vision, deft observation, and consistently sharp, funny, and unbridled language.
“I love Ryan MacDonald’s stories for their humor and absurdity, their intuitive logic, their beguiling juxtapositions. They are sweet and cruel and plaintive, and they express, in changing terms, our failures and obsessions, the plain ways we neglect and punish and please and love and forget one another.”
—Noy Holland, author of Swim for the Little One First
“Ryan MacDonald's short tales of seemingly quotidian life lead us to the end of the diving board—and then leave it to us to take the plunge into the depths of exploding implications. Everything's normal, until it isn't. Through these stories MacDonald invites us to look around our own lives and wonder what is moving around just beneath the surface and about to break free to surprise or frighten us. A stimulating, intriguing collection.”
—Stanley Crawford, author of A Garlic Testament and Log of the S.S. the Mrs Unguentine
“Do you know what the lurid intermixture of complicated emotions produces, according to Nathaniel Hawthorne? That’s right, it produces the illuminating blaze of the infernal regions. Ryan MacDonald’s glorious shards of prose are both lurid and blazing, and together they comprise an anthology of complex feelings—dream-like, vivid, and never, ever obvious.”
—Chris Bachelder, author of Bear v. Shark and Abbott Awaits
“Concise and contrary, exquisite and eccentric, these stories unsettle, then settle, then unsettle again.”—Susan Steinberg, author of Hydroplane
*lifted with love from goodreads