For me, a stimulating short story anthology makes me want to start writing. I dunno. I guess imagination is catching. I should probably add absurdity and a penchant for pushing the barriers of reader comfort to my extremely communicable fiction list. The only item that left me perplexed about some of the stories were some endings in medias res. I found myself scanning the page for more words that simply didn't appear. Take this as evidence of Cardamone's ability to create immersive story worlds rather than a slight. Thirteen different times, I floated down the rabbit hole. I don't think one can fall into a Pumpkin Teeth story.
These were the journeys that I found most delightful in a wicked sort of way. I'm sure you'll choose your own.
Bottom Feeder presents a first person narrator who has evolved or devolved into the kind of "retirement community" that could be best described as a human version of Flipper or Namu engaged in proctophilic activities and singing.
In Suitcase Sam the first person narrator allows the reader a view into an oddly logical development of the ultimate in sexual submission and objectification. Paraphilia anyone?
Some mythical time ago, in the Far East, the first person narrator in Royal Catamite undergoes a transformation due to the imbibing of too much divine seminal fluid. Now there's a thought.
River Rat features a multi-person POV. IMHO, this is the sweetest of the stories. For those of us who adore outlandish comic book type characters, zaftig women, and free love between humans and former humans are in for a distinctly cupcake-with-sprinkles-shaped treat. I read, I chuckled and cooed in delight, and then I raided the refrigerator.
Since I already believe in the veil between the worlds of the Living and those who have passed on, Cardamone did not have to sell me. The Next Bardo brings its first person narrator "back" to another era filled with regret. What's so wonderful about this piece is the details of travel writing, gay marketing, the isolating effects of being closeted, all set against the loss inflicted by the appearance of AIDS.
Dare I say I look forward to reading the next Cardamone collection?
Note: This copy of Pumpkin Teeth was an electronic ARC acquired from an editor upon the reviewer's request. Her Tangh-i-ness reviews on a for-the-love basis. No lucre has been involved.