By Amelia Gray
If anything's going to save lots of the characters in Amelia Gray's debut from their stricken romances, their social improprieties, or their arms becoming claws, it's a John Mayer live performance tee. In AM/PM, impish humor and slicing perception are on complete show. Readers travel the lives of 23 characters throughout one hundred twenty tales packed with lizard tails, Schrödinger containers, and volcano love. June wakes up one morning coated in seeds; Leonard falls in love with a chaise front room; Betty insists every little thing other than plants are an emblem of her love for her husband; Andrew talks to his apartment in occasions of hindrance. Written each morning and evening for 2 months, those short vignettes (50 to a hundred phrases) keep in mind Donald Barthelme of their whimsy and refined but strong feelings. An intermittent love tale as noticeable via a darkly comedian lens, AM/PM mixes poetry and prose, humor and hubris to create a very unique paintings of fiction.
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What counts in that house in Neauphle-le-Château are the windows overlooking the garden and the road to Paris in front of the house. The one on which the women in my books pass by. I slept a lot in the room that became the living room. For a long time I thought a bedroom was too conventional. Only when I started working there did it become indispensable like the other rooms—even the empty ones on the upper ﬂoors. The mirror in the living room belonged to the previous owners. They left it for me.
And much broken china. We threw all of it out. Except the debris of china, without a doubt Sèvres porcelain: the designs were intact. And the blue was the innocent blue in the eyes of certain of our children. When a book is ﬁnished—a book you have written, I mean—you can no longer say when reading it that this particular book is a book you have written, or what things were written in it, in what state of despair or hap- 19 / WRITING piness, of discovery or failure that implicates your entire being.
But without any kind of schedule. Never. Except for cooking. I knew exactly when to come to make something boil or keep something from burning. And for my books I knew it, too. I swear it. I swear all of it. I have never lied in a book. Or even in my life. Except to men. Never. And this is because my mother had terriﬁed me with the lie that killed children who lied. I think that what I blame books for, in general, is that they are not free. One can see it in the writing: they are fabricated, organized, regulated; one could say they conform.