60-Second Critic: Philly Fiction

Edited by Josh McIlvain, Christopher Munden, Greg November and Tracey Parker
(Don Ron Books; $12)

The idea behind Philly Fiction was to present the city as a natural backdrop for storytelling, but few of the short stories in this collection (caution: typos abound) conjure it as a place of tangible texture; casual mentions of Fork


Edited by Josh McIlvain, Christopher Munden, Greg November and Tracey Parker
(Don Ron Books; $12)

The idea behind Philly Fiction was to present the city as a natural backdrop for storytelling, but few of the short stories in this collection (caution: typos abound) conjure it as a place of tangible texture; casual mentions of Fork and Manayunk won’t do. Some of the writing sings; in “The Shanghai Ship to Love,” Edward P. Clapp hilariously describes a trip on the Chinatown Express. There’s genuine emotion in Michael Aronovitz’s “The Big Picture,” with a dad telling his son the truth about Santa Claus. But the collection suffers from thematic tunnel vision; story after story is about relationships, many dealing with a warped singles scene. In Greg November’s “Dinnertime at 42B,” a loser pays a hooker solely for her company, but the woman isn’t pretty, and the ending isn’t Hollywood. Welcome to Philadelphia, City of Brothel-ly Love. Grade: B-