"Thirty-one brief, clever tales from the author of The Mothering Coven . . . underscore absurdities in the human species. . . . Ruocco's understated humor and irony have a playful, experimental appeal."
"This is a marvelous sequence of linked stories deftly portraying those animals inside of us which long ago tracked down and ate our inner child. A wry book that combines the obsessive music of Lydia Davis and the stripped precision of Muriel Spark, Man s Companions is not to be missed. "
"Reading this work I imagine what it must have been like for people reading Donald Barthelme for the first time, that fully formed stylist suddenly sprung as if from nothing, this vision or version of the world that is our world and also isn t--it s wonderful and peculiar and radiant and much funnier and maybe a little bit sadder. Each of Ruocco s tales is its own little triumph."
For the characters in Man s Companions, the self is a degraded version of someone else. Fantasy is stymied by performance anxiety. Delayed gratification phones in a last-minute cancellation. Thee fictions in this collection are mongrel, troubling the genus of story with miscegenations and mutations, and at the heart of the book is the figure of the anima non grata, the unwanted woman, a degraded version of man. Using language by turns digressive, obsessive, overblown, romantic, fickle, and mundane, Man s Companions manipulates feminine tropes and finds a kind of joyous liberty in its proliferation of thwarted affairs and awkward interludes. Â Â Â
About the Author
Joanna Ruocco is the author of The Mothering Coven. She co-edits Birkensnake, a fiction journal. She currently resides in Denver, Colorado.