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A City Equal to My Desire by James Sallis
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A City Equal to My Desire (2004)

by James Sallis

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This satisfying collection of dark dream parables fans out a fistful of snapshots from times and places foreign to us--yet unsettlingly familiar. Many of the stories are more like jagged fragments, or fevered REM-sleep musings. As we briefly ponder futures in which giant flying bugs drive people indoors or couples pay to live in lovingly re-created tenements complete with electronic cockroaches, it's as if we're flipping through classic Twilight Zone episodes. Imagining new ways in which our cultural decay might manifest itself--perhaps people will just start disintegrating before our eyes as they give up on life--Sallis scavenges images and tropes from his previous stories: mushroom-white skin, the fragile bloom of a cactus, and always jazz playing in the background. Some of these apocalyptic tales have the cheery tone of the old Police tune "When the World Is Running Down (You Make the Best of What's Still Around)." But others, such as "Autumn Leaves," which tracks the personal toll of a massive infectious disease outbreak, remind us to cherish what we have while we can.
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