Christopher Meeks’ collection of short stories Months and Seasons is a good read. Despite the differences in each narrative, the overall tone is attuned to a narrator who appears slightly detached from the dramatized events. It is as if he is there observing everything with curious eyes but not entirely at home. I mean in particular contemporary popular culture references, which somehow seem out of place, despite the fact that there is no incorrect use, or anachronism. Yet, it is interesting how the general narrative mode creates a sense of lightness even in descriptions of difficult moments. This gap between the narrator and the narrative is also, on my view, a source of the humor that permeates all stories.
I like the way Meeks creates a double perspective, as in the story of a dentist whose wife is hypnotized on stage. Thinking she is a chicken and being jumped by a man who thinks he’s a rooster, she provokes roars of laughter. At the same time the perspective of her husband is conveyed quite subtly, so the reader feels sad and embarrassed at the same time as s/he bursts out laughing at the silly scene. Meeks maintains this double-ness through all his stories. Just imagine a Dracula-clad man who has an accident on Halloween.
One of my favorites is “Breaking Water.” On my part, the appeal lies in Meeks’ references to Scandinavia, and a character who was engaged to a Swedish baron, which is quite hilarious. I wish he described this baron, because in Sweden we’re quite cynical about royalty, and their haircuts. I also enjoy Meeks’ playfulness with Existentialist thinkers, in particular Heidegger.
Chris Meeks is the author of A Middle-aged Man and the Sea, and a number of plays.