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Sleeping Mask: Fictions by Peter LaSalle

Sleeping Mask: Fictions

by Peter LaSalle

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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
LaSalle's collection of stories was unusual in that it wasn't hit or miss. There weren't any misses, but there weren't any strong hits. Still, it does better than average since his skill is evident and the writing is skilled. I think I'd be interested in reading a longer work from LaSalle because the stories do have a slow build. A long-form work probably does better to showcase his talent. ( )
  Sean191 | Mar 6, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
A collection of short stories on very different lives and how they find peace at the end of each day, regardless of how chaotic their day to day lives are.
Everyone is looking for something to comfort them, to make them relax and and take a step back from their chaotic life and what might come next. Whether its a boy caught up in a gang of orphans who murder men and kidnap orphan girls, or a professor battling a horrible illness, they, like us, are all looking for comfort and solace at the end of each and every day. Some sign of normalcy and predictable to comfort and lull them to sleep before they start thinking about what might be thrown at them tomorrow. People who live their lives from one day to the next, not sure if they will see tomorrow, not sure if they want to see tomorrow. They put on this mask at the end of their day, a mask of familiarity and hope, something to make them forget about their woahs for just a few minutes.
The characters are lively and realistic, outlandish, but relatable. they are all unique and so completely different from one another, each of their stories are so different from one another, and yet, at the end of the day, they are all looking for the same things before they drop off into sleep. ( )
  jadorelecafe | Jan 18, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Time is a contemporary problem. Peter LaSalle suspends it in his short stories, called "fictions," collected in the "Sleeping Mask" (New York 2017) by the Bellevue Literary Press. What better place to suspend time, bringing the past forward and placing the present behind it, than in a dream behind a sleeping mask?

LaSalle's fictions may suspend time but not belief. The fictions are set in familiar places and the characters appear real, stark in their human conditions. Love that becomes sad when it brings together the young and old. Rebellion when boys war like men and girls make it moral, mortal and personal. Dreams of Edgar Allan Poe reading of his posthumous fame when he no doubt toiled in debt. Bud the painter, who had not followed a normal course to success, which spooked him and his drinking buddies to eternity.

The protagonists of some fictions have no reference bias – not in the story but of the story. An illness takes a liking to windows; drawing inspiration from Wallace Stevens' poetry. A jet flight with nothing to do but let its passengers transgress to its end. The hands of fascism, which strangle civil disobedience. Mirrors, which I agree with LaSalle – never to be taken for granted.

I often read the last entry of short story collections first and save the first for last. But I first took in LaSalle's fictions in serial order because the Bellevue press promises in each of its books a transformative read that resound in memory. LaSalle's fictions did not disappoint me. I will randomly take them up again. ( )
  lar0que | Dec 31, 2016 |
Sleeping Masks is an evocative collection of short stories that explore what it means to be human in contemporary times. The stories pull you out of time and into what feels like a dream state that leaves you pondering existence and society. Many of the stories are filled with raw emotion and are excellent at transporting the reader into the stories while maintaining a delightful sense of being apart. The essence of maintaining a distance while immersing one in the story is refreshing and it seems fitting. The more academic or pedantic stories seem to draw you into a topic that seems dry or uninteresting and leave you wanting more. The command of language and understanding of human nature across cultures, time, and geographic location are masterful. ( )
  lesserlady | Dec 14, 2016 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I enjoyed several of Peter LaSalle's stories in this collection. "A Day in the Life of the Illness," tells pretty much the whole story of the life of an English professor through her actions and thoughts on just one day. "The Flight," and "Lunch Across the Bridge," both are very short but both encompass much.

Some other stories took me so far out of my comfort zone, full of violence and despair, that I lost all pleasure in reading them. Some of these I finished, some not. A few were deep and full but, for me, about self-absorbed and uninteresting people.

LaSalle is a skillful writer. Every sentence is well crafted. I want to read more of his work. ( )
  mykl-s | Dec 9, 2016 |
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