Don’t believe the title. In this book, EVERYTHING is strange. And it’s absolutely marvelous. A collection of very short stories by Mike Russell, Everything Is Strange comes across as a kind of mix of Black Mirror and The Twilight Zone, but still something else altogether.
In my experience, writing a weird story isn’t all that difficult. Just throw a bunch of things that don’t make sense together and create a narrative. But what IS difficult, and what Russell does with aplomb, is to create strange stories where nothing really quite makes sense … and turn those stories into narratives that hold a much deeper meaning than simply what happens on the page.
These are surrealistic think-pieces. And they’ll take you to wholly new places, where the absurd is the ordinary, and self-discovery is just one oddity away.
I’m not going to synopsize any of these, as they’re all so short that to do so would be to spoil them. But what I can say is this: This book is absolutely worth picking up. As each story stands on its own, it’s a great collection to pick up for a bit of in-between reading – though I often found myself sitting down and cranking through several stories at a single read.
Contrary to the title, in Russell’s world everything is strange. But it’s also extremely realistic, when you really dig into the heart of the matters being discussed. A wonderful exploration of our reality through dream and metaphor, I can’t recommend this collection enough.
Addendum: I should note that the writing here isn’t flamboyant or overly prosaic. But instead the stories are written rather simply, which in my opinion adds to the impact of the stories. The matter-of-fact style keeps things from becoming fantastical, and all the more relatable in their telling.