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Ben Loory Books In Order

Publication Order of Collections

Stories for Nighttime and Some for the Day (2011) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Tales of Falling and Flying (2017) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Picture Books

The Baseball Player and the Walrus (2015) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Ben Loory is an American short fiction author that hails from Los Angeles California. He is best known for the “Tales of Falling and Flying” and “Stories for Nighttime and Some for the Day” collections of short stories. He has also authored several other novels and a children’s picture book. Loory’s short fiction have been featured in Fairy Tale Review, The Antioch Review, READ Magazine, Tin House, The New Yorker and have been performed at WordTheater in London and Los Angeles. They have also been on audio in Selected Shorts and This American Life. His titles have been translated into several languages including Indonesian, Japanese, Farsi, and Arabic. Loory’s parents never had a television, and he had to relish his moments watching cartoons in the homes of his friends during the weekends. However, with parents that were both English teachers that had met in college, he had all the books and influence he would need for his future life as a professional author. His house on the edge of town was full of books and Ben would spend much of his time during the week gorging on all types of books from his parents’ library. Unsurprisingly, one of his most favorite works was Aesop’s fables, which have had a very significant influence on his later works.

Loory is a Harvard University alumnus, having graduated from the university with a Bachelor in Visual and Environmental studies. He would later attend the American Film Institute from where he graduated with an M.F.A. in Screenwriting. Given his training, he proceeded to work as a Hollywood screenwriter for six years, a job that he credits for his skills of focus when writing a story. While he loved his job as a screenwriter, he often felt that he was not fulfilling his potential as an author and hence enrolled in a horror-writing program. The program gave him the confidence to start writing his short mysteries, which he has been writing ever since. His novels are evocative, and sometimes compelling and scary narratives that he likes to tell as he hears them. When he is not writing his novels Loory loves to play accordion, baritone sax, and the “Mandolin with the Soda and His Million Piece Band”, an American group that plays roots music. He currently lives in Los Angeles, where he is in charge of the Extension Writers Program for the UCLA.

“The Tales of Falling and Flying” and “Stories for Nighttime and Some for the Day” are titles alluding to the translucent place where the dawn rises and dusk falls, where flying and falling mesh into a oneness difficult to differentiate. In telling the story, the veil between imagination and reality is paper thin as images and themes reappear throughout the novels in different forms. For instance, many of the narratives end in laughter, escape, or joy while the sword of one novels suddenly turns into the knife in another.

For the most part, Ben Loory’s novels begin with a declarative and direct sentence such as “A boy is trudging through the forest when he suddenly stumbles into Bigfoot,’ or “a boy instantly falls in love when he meets a girl on the beach”. With the stage having been set, the narrative starts with an unpredictable and short plot that could either take a turn for the worse or not. Some of the narratives provide gritty tales of adulthood, while some will evoke a range of childhood horrors, turn of phrase and humor. They are written in beguilingly simple language often ending on an appropriate yet surprising paradox and a metaphorical exclamation point. The ends of the narratives are something of a birth, in being both hopeful and painful, inescapably right yet frightening. Ben Loory writes his novels in his characteristic pared down spare style that seeks to remove any unnecessary details that may take the attention from the highly emotional thrust of such tales. The novels focus on one singular emotional conflict and a character while removing the adjective the names of characters or any quotation marks. While seemingly unpardoned and sparse, an aspect that would put them at odds given their fantastic subjects, the ideas come out really well due to Loory’s excellent restraint that ensures there is no distraction.

“Stories for Nighttime and Some for the Day” is Loory’s debut short story collection. It is a collection of perilous, dark, witty, and wry contemporary fables full of jocular octopi, trees, monsters, and people. The characters in the narratives are united by desire and fear, two twin motivations that make their world go round. In this universe, girls fly through space, fall down wells, find love on Ferris wheels, animals reside in tiny apartments, and televisions have the capacity for speech. In a voice that is a combination of dream, myth, and fable, the “Stories for Nighttime and Some for the Day” draws the reader into a delightful world full of fantastic tales, while introducing a writer full of imagination and talent. The best of the forty narratives in the series include “The TV” as found in the New Yorker, “The Book” as depicted on Selected Shorts, “Death and the Fruits of the Tree” as portrayed on National Public Radio program “This American Life”, “The Man and the Moose”, and “The Duck”.

“Tales of Falling and Flying” is a dazzling collection of narratives that takes us into the world of playful humor, deep empathy, and whimsical fantasies. The narratives eschew literary realism with surprising richly innovative characters including restaurateurs dreaming of moving to Paris, long lost twins, cephalopods obsessed with going to space, star crossed lovers, swordsmen and dragons. Using propulsive language, Ben excellent portrays his excellent story telling qualities and vast imagination. The series of stories works to expand the readers understanding on creative fiction, that cements Ben Loory place as one of the best and most innovative of writers in his genre. The stories are reminiscent of the fables and fairy tales of our childhood that always come with an unexpected twist. He also throws in some of our most familiar and some not so familiar anthropomorphic animals that make for quite some intriguing characterization As fantasy novels on the edge of fable and fairy tale the novels manage to be weird, while remaining real and humane even if they are quick and super short.

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