Monday, July 07, 2008

Book Review: Psychological Methods to Sell Should Be Destroyed: Stories by Robert Freeman Wexler

Every Monday, I'll be doing spoiler-free, bite-sized book reviews.
Whatever this chapbook lacks in quantity, it more than makes for it when it comes to quality. Psychological Methods to Sell Should Be Destroyed: Stories opens with an introduction from Zoran Zivkovic about the state of the publishing industry and is a must-read. It is soon followed by six impressive stories by Wexler--the longest of which is making its first appearance here. Wexler's prose is fresh and quite different, engaging in very human concerns filtered through the lens of literary style and technique that's neither condescending nor blatant yet quite accessible. "Suspension" is a great opener and sets the tone for the rest of the book. This is easily my favorite story in the bunch. Wexler delivers a well-written character-driven story about a man who has four arms lying in the snow and despite the static setting, a lot of change occurs as we progress through the narrative. "Tales of the Golden Legend" is quite a compelling read and despite the relatively short text, the author manages to give us different points of view that contribute to the overall atmosphere and story. "Valley of the Falling Clouds" is another character-driven story that is filled with romantic and mythic elements yet the end result is a horrifying epiphany. Both "The Green Wall" and "Indifference" are about men seeking something missing in their lives yet the technique Wexler employs in each is different, the former relying more on metaphor while the latter is more deceptive when it comes to the actual cause of his mental state. The newest addition, "The Sidewalk Factory: A Municipal Romance", isn't to be missed as amidst the ludicrous and satiric scenario our protagonist finds himself in, this is a very serious if not tragic piece and one can't help but be amazed at how Wexler tackles the subject matter while managing to sprinkle it with a few laughs. Psychological Methods to Sell Should Be Destroyed: Stories is definitely a great literary read and if I was previously unfamiliar with Wexler's name, that's clearly not the case now.

Rating: 4/5.

Rating System:

1 - There are better ways to spend your time.
2 - Ho hum books, usually typical of its genre. Probably only recommendable to die-hard fans.
3 - A cut above the rest, usually with one or more elements that sets it apart from the norm.
4 - Highly recommended and is easily a pioneer of the genre.
5 - A classic or it will be.

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