I’ll Give You Something to Cry About
Paperback, Queen’s Ferry Press, $14.95
“This is what a collection of stories should be, rich and varied, playful, daring, poignant and always entertaining. Corey Mesler’s children and adults move about American locales both familiar and exotic and the result is an experience as broad and interesting as life itself. —Robert Lopez, author of Kamby Bolongo Mean River and Asunder”
“Corey Mesler’s story collection I’ll Give You Something to Cry About is a quiver full of picaresque and heartbreak. Half his Lazarillos are agoraphobes but they all get around, these bankers and bums and biologists. Mesler maps Memphis (-and-environs, -and-beyond) with myth and metaphor, sends ghost after ghost to haunt the streets, Elvis and Lennon, Pandora and Penelope, and they’re all stretching for the same top-branch chestnuts that sustain the rest of us: peace and love, yes, oh peace and love.” —Roy Kesey, author of Pacazo and All Over
“ ‘He could think of nothing that he could do to work out the chthonic powers of the thing, to twig to its abracadabra.’ So writes Corey Mesler of one of his many wondrously perplexed protagonists in the author’s new collection I’ll Give You Something to Cry About, though honestly, Mesler might be describing one of his own readers. Pursing these stories, is like entering an art gallery filled with the paintings of Rene Magritte—as with every successive viewing the lines between art and trickery, irony and pathos, magic and prestidigitation grow ever finer.” —Brad Vice, author of The Bear Bryant Funeral Train
“Corey Mesler’s I’ll Give You Something to Cry About: A Gathering of Storieshas the right amount of pathos, nostalgia, and playfulness. Imagine a scenario in an arcade with Ernest Hemingway. Imagine a self-deprecating Big Corey who inevitably began as Little Corey — the Little Corey who “made good grades,” the Little Corey who was once involved in ball games where the “balls bounced off him like radiation.” There’s also my favorite little tale about the misgivings of Stan. Stan lives next door to Pandora (we’re talking about THE Pandora who had a box). Also worthy of note is the excellent “The History of the Memphis 4-H Group,” a selection of fake bios replete with back-stories and scandals; it’s an entertaining parody of the Algonquin Round Table. The final story, “Noah, at Home, Afterwards,” is irreverent and unforgettable. Corey Mesler is a fun and a not-so-overbearing Jorge Luis Borges. He is the Borges who smiles.” —Kristin Ong Muslim, author of We Bury the Landscape
“I finished I’ll Give You Something to Cry About which I’ve enjoyed immensely. I love books of short fictions. They’re like good fruit cakes – filled with sweet and spicy and nutty tidbits. But ‘The History of the Memphis 4-H Group’ was dazzling. Each entry suggest another story, another history. The names (and I appreciate a good name) are deeply satisfying. Where did all that come from? No, but seriously. Where did it come from? Because I’d like to go there myself and dip my pen in the inkwell!” —-Miles Gibson, author of Dancing with Mermaids and Hotel Plenti
Cover art by Debra Jones-Jackson.