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Sunday Book Review: Your Body is Changing by Jack Pendarvis

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Jack Pendarvis, author of the just-released collection of short stories, Your Body is Changing is a funny guy. He was just in town on Friday for a reading at Skylight Books and posted about it on his blog yesterday under the heading, “An Open Letter to the People of California.” What did his post say? “You are nice!” Yup. That's it. So short prose really is his specialty...

While Pendarvis, who resides in Atlanta, is a Southern writer to the core, don’t expect him to follow exactly in the dramatic literary tradition of a William Faulkner or a Tennessee Williams. Your Body is Changing is filled with humorous and oddball characters that’ll make you laugh one minute and wince in revulsion the next. It's pop culture to the core, and that's what makes it so good.

The collection’s eight stories begins with “Lumber Land” – about a 50-year-old newspaper reporter Dudley Durden -- who doesn’t write (he’s inexplicably on the company’s payroll for life) and spends his time either contemplating his would-have-been greatness and various ailments or hanging out in his stinky, filth-infested home. (If this passage doesn’t paint a pretty picture for you, I don’t know what will):

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While Three was in the bathroom, Dud rummaged around for his car keys and thought about all the things Three was sure to notice, like the squeezed-out toothpaste tube so old that the petrified gunk leaking out of the cracks was gray, and the permanent stains in the toilet, and the hissing roaches that lived behind the mirror, and the black stuff growing along the rum of the air vent, and the basket of rotting pecans in the bathtub.