Misadventure (Nicholas Grider)

Article by annalia

It may seem innocent enough, with its minimalist cover and slim 150 pages, but MISADVENTURE has a lot to prove. Where to begin? It’s a debut collection of short stories written by a photographer and released by a small Austin press that had previously published only one other title. But Nicholas Grider is the exact discovery any avid reader hopes to find. 

Many of Grider’s stories focus on neuroses and accidents (random acts of violence, failed attempts at imitating TV drama, etc.), several of his characters are on the brink of death (sick and counting the days), and there’s more sex than I've ever encountered in fiction. So what makes everything digestible? Grider’s honesty. These are the kinds of stories you tell your friends only if they swear to you--even prick their fingers as proof--that they’ll love you no matter what. They’re too raw to be pretentious, but too vulnerable to be exploitative.

Most of the collection breaks narrative form--there’s an interrogation, a compilation of facts, a list of knots--but never in ways that feel forced. Whether an index of former lovers (e.g., “Too much like me for me to find much to work with”) or a litany of liars and their lies (some multiple offenders), it’s as though Grider, rather than choosing various containers and filling them with witticisms he’s been saving on cocktail napkins, allows the stories to shape themselves. One story details the frustration of getting jerked around at work in a single, tired sentence.

MISADVENTURE isn’t one of those books where a reader points at the characters and says, “I would never do that.” It's one where a reader wants to call the author and say, “How did you know?”

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