It's been a long while since we've done any blog entries on some of BOA's classics, so today we're going to bring you back to Anthony Tognazzini's collection of short stories, I Carry A Hammer In My Pocket For Occasions Such As These, BOA's first collection of short fiction, published in 2007, and still an undeniably keen new voice in the form. Smart and innovative, Hammer is a refreshingly quirky read and is at one time abstract and yet completely relevant. Tognazzini deals with life, relationships, the mundane and the cosmic, often all at once. His stories remind one of absurdist, surrealist paintings, bits of everyday life into which have intruded the strange, oddly-natural tendrils of something completely alien, and yet still carry themselves in such a way as to suggest that it is our world which is disjointed, and not his. In one story, the narrator finds himself flattened by an escalator because he was pondering the grand questions of life. In another, the reader is placed in the center of an art museum and eavesdrops on the visitors walking by. Tognazzini demonstrates more than just a spark on ingenuity, but creates a work that overflows with creativity and fun amidst a sea of more heavy, serious pieces. Yet there are still very difficult, personal aspects to his work that, combined with the oft-ridiculous events and frequent dalliances with hysteria and psychosis, point out to us the reader the inherent transience and silliness in some of our heaviest issues. In each brief piece, Tognazzini reaches an intriguing, but unexpected, depth as he captures the mind and heart of the reader. I Carry A Hammer In My Pocket For Occasions Such As These was Anthony Tognazzini's first published book. His work has also appeared in Mississippi Review, Sentence, The Hat, Denver Quarterly, Quick Fiction, and others. Tognazzini's work has also appeared in anthologies including Sudden Stories: A Mammoth Anthology of Miniscule Fiction and PP/FF: An Anthology. He has traveled extensively, and has lived in California, the Philippines, Texas, Spain, Germany, Indiana, New York City, and the Czech Republic. "Tognazzini deconstructs universal moments with language, revealing underlying beauty and bliss... There is vivid, decadent metaphor and detail to be found in this book." -Nicole Steinberg (Bomb) An Excerpt from "Double Trouble:" "I came home and discovered that my house had been turned into a museum. I'd expected something else-- a marching band, maybe, or a little pile of cinders, not an usher in a plush coat seated by my mailbox. "Eight bucks," he said, and handed me a burgundy pennant. I re-checked the address: It was mine. I felt my hands, my hips, the bones in my nose: They were mine. Inside, a crowd milled through the rooms, holding brochures. They stroked their chins in contemplation. They were eyebrow-raised, gum-chewing sorts. Five or six people had crowded in the shower, fondling the soap and fixtures. A translator spoke to a Japanese family who'd bottlenecked the hall. I understood their curiosity. I was curious too..." I Carry A Hammer In My Pocket For Occasions Such As These is available for purchase here.
- Categories: BOA Classics