[image-4]Published February 07, 2008.
The Book of Other People
Zadie Smith (edited)
If youre a commitment-phobe who likes to be sure of an author before putting out cash, this book of short stories serves as a fantastic sampler of contemporary authors and comic artists. The premise is simple: Editor Zadie Smith (White Teeth) asked 23 contributors for stories about characters, to make somebody up. The collection is like walking through a portrait gallery: Some faces are easily forgotten, but others will stick in your memory long afterwards.
Only Miranda July can make being spritzed by a stranger (who happens to be famous) with Febreze sad, erotic and funny. Dave Eggers story about jealousy in a love triangle of mountain-dwelling giants contains human heartbreak. No surprise that Jonathan Lethems Perkus Tooth, a relationship between a washed-up child star and a pot-smoking, Herzog-loving eccentric is worth multiple reads. Once again Daniel Clowes (Ghost World) focuses on the unwittingly pathetic in his comic of Justin M. Damiano, chief movie critic for justinmdamiano.com.
The books protagonists serve as introductions to authors worth investigation, such as Colm Tóibín and David Mitchell. Plus, profits go to Eggers 826NYC, a non-profit dedicated to promoting kids literacy.
Sue Carter Flinn