Matt DeBenedictis’s Top Novellas

I don’t have ten novellas. This is not to say I haven’t read and fell madly in love with ten short bound tales. I have. But when favorite is thrown into the description only five come to mind. Each of these novellas stand as giants to me, like giants of industry and thought that swell beyond their own pages and thirst to consume all fingers that flip their tender pages. The five….go….now. No order.

Tortoise, by James Lewelling
There is a rhythm, a repeated beat in this story. On first read a thought of “Again? Seriously?” is easily birthed on the repetitive patterns, but this notion is also just as nicely put to the side to enjoy this book of flight. The writing of plane travel is infectious and done with a skill I can’t ever get past.

Everyman, by Philip Roth
Words a wrung tight leaving all damp and useless ones behind—no need for them here in this short jaunt for Philip Roth. Sometimes I feel like Everyman is like the Book of Job from the bible but the darkness of life’s trials and fading good deeds are given a tangible taste, something that can be grasped by all.

The Human War, by Noah Cicero
A quick run through the mind, thoughts are focused on rather than quick and fleeting dialogue. I like to read this alone, sitting on my deck, three beers deep and reading aloud. The confusion of the character is felt by the owls that hide in the trees out back and I sweat and wonder what the fuck is the point of anything along with the character.

EVER, by Blake Butler
It’s a package, not just a novella. The form is far from linear. The idea of poem and prose mean nothing in the world of EVER. Sentences with teeth and skin that stretch are the glory of EVER. There is a soundtrack, a mix, a kind of compilation assembled by Blake Butler that gives the novella even more power. Read with the music playing and the words feel more, they curse more. It’s right to cry, “More! More! More!”

God Bless You, Dr. Kevorkian, by Kurt Vonnegut
It begins as a mere transcript from a radio show about traveling to the regions of life after death and interviewing the famously deceased. It ends with emotions leaked onto paper; Kurt spilled himself and his fears everywhere. It’s a mess. Got to love any text where the final sentiment is that, “Hell is other people.”

I need to finish Animal Farm. The internet keeps telling me it’s one of the best novellas ever.

When Matt DeBenedictis is not writing fiction, he’s writing something about a band. When he’s not doing that he’s riding his scooter, naked, into your apocalypse. Find him HERE.

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