Everyday There is Something About Elephants
by Timothy Gager (Big Table Publishing 2018)
Review by: Renuka Raghavan
Everyday There is Something About Elephants, Timothy Gager’s latest collection of 107 skillfully crafted flash fiction, is not the kind of book you settle down with for a night of easy leisure reading. This is the book you read to be blown away, to be left with a feeling of, “I can’t believe I just read that.” Be forewarned: this collection will give you the feels…all of them. Perhaps that’s because not a single story within this collection can be cast aside as a throw-away or be considered irrelevant to the collection as a whole. The stories resonate with prose as keen and sharp as the lunch lady’s I.V. needle in “What You Dream About.” Watch out!
In “Action Figures”, famous writers make cameos as apathetic dolls looking in on a pair of siblings, one of whom, is undergoing chemo. In “How it Went Down,” a story of nine lines, an entire relationship crumbles before our eyes. In “Multiplicity,” we witness rough mercy delivered by a recovering alcoholic father. The story—like many in this collection— is not quite a full page in length, yet it’s written with concise wisdom that celebrates humanity’s flaws and blemishes, while articulating pain. Expressing emotion of this magnitude with extreme economy of words, is by far, Gager’s most adroit faculty.
Everyday There is Something About Elephants is not a collection of stories, you’ll soon forget. That’s because the author, Timothy Gager, is not an author whom you’ll soon forget. Gager has a talent, or more accurately, the moxie, to write without pretense, without artifice, and most importantly, without boundaries. As you read each story, you’ll find yourself thinking, “Wait, is he really going to go there?” The answer, much to a reader’s shocking delight, is always yes.
Renuka Raghavan’s previous work has appeared in Boston Literary Magazine, Jersey Devil Press, Blink-Ink, Star 82 Review, Down in the Dirt Literary Magazine, Chicago Literati, and Gravel, among others. She is the author of Out of the Blue (Big Table Publishing, 2017), a collection of poetry and prose. She is a co-founder of the Poetry Sisters Collective and serves as the fiction book reviewer at Cervena Barva Press. She writes and lives in Massachusetts, with her family and beloved beagle. Visit her here.