Nameless, but important

Perhaps the first thing one notices about Ben Loory’s stories is that most of his characters have no names. This lack, however, does not detract from these stories, which sometimes read as fairy tale, other times as fable and always leave questions. The unnamed characters meet Loory’s deceptively simple writing head-on, and a dream world where anything might happen is created. A snake is found in a man’s throat; a best-selling book is filled with blank pages; and an octopus has an affinity for sugar, spoons and his apartment—until his nephews visit. In each story, Loory presents society and the interaction between characters in ways that aren’t often possible through more traditionally written stories. These are very short stories, but they are complex—even “The Shadow,” which is composed of 21 words. They are funny and sad, and they are stories to read, reflect on and reread.