Lisa Foad - The Night is a Mouth - Better Than The Average Bear

A couple of months ago Lisa Foad's new short story collection generated a healthy amount of publicity, largely in the queer rags (and funnily enough, on average I see nary the book review in those papers). My interest was piqued (how did she get all this press? Is it the saucy author photo complete with lace shirt? Or the queer angle?) so I nabbed a copy and finally settled in to read it last week.

Foad's style is more poetry than prose. Her paragraphs are short, many are only a line in length. Her stories fall on the side of abstraction, by and large, and so they feel more like prose-y poems than your standard short story.

The stories are rich in detail. Foad is playing with her own form, by and large, and she tends to be successful in doing so.

True, the stories commonly feature young damaged women in stilettos and clothes that are hell to keep on. Sexual overtones dominate - boobs fall out, sexual repartee is interspersed with tragedy. The fascination with the concept of little girl lost can feel juvenile at times.

Yet, I stand as a Foad defender as she is a scrappy and fearless writer. I hope she continues to dig deeper into the themes of dissolution of family and the slippery beast that is being a sexual young female.

I hope she doesn't go on to write another Lullabies for Little Criminals - which felt heartless, like a Sophia Coppola film without the frothy visuals.

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