Alaric Al Necro Cabiling is author of Insanity By Increments, stories. He is also known for his published articles at CvltNation.com and EchoesAndDust.com promoting the international extreme music scene.
Emma Straub is a fine author, and Other People We Married is rich with her subtle but persuasive talent. There's humor in every turn. Every detail is almost alarmingly perceptible through her keen observation of everyday life. She's articulate without sounding like a textbook, or a medical dictionary.
The language is hardly spare, drifting between everyday ease and profound articulacy. Her characters are richly depicted and her scenes are so vivid, only a picture would prove to be better. Somehow reading her prose gives a more thorough, complete existence than immersing yourself in actual experience.
It's not always funny though, as proven in her story, Abraham's Enchanted Forest, briefly touching on subtle heartache and tragedy without blowing it up into a tear-jerker replete with crumpled tissue paper everywhere. Sometimes, it's so subtle, it takes careful consideration to notice, and those are the plots that I love the most because they're the most effective.
After all, not everything in life is melodramatic. Straub entertains as much as she writes striking, moving prose - vivid and full of life. Her characters are realistic and they're hard not to like. I can't name one story in her collection I dislike in all truth. Her magic, like I said, is subtle but persuasive.
Just like in her story Pearls, echoing a near flawless rendition of what lies beyond greater awareness of circumstances that are less than ideal. They serve to enlighten us. This reeks every bit like the rotten egg water of last story, Hot Springs Eternal.
Emma Straub is a writer that delights in real situations, situations that any one of us can relate to. Her collection of stories is not fantastical fiction, nor is it plainly rhetorical. She unmasks the transcendental in mundane everyday situations, characters that seem so real, we feel their immutable joys and sorrows long after we've read the book. That is a book to immerse oneself in. That is the sort of book you won't want to miss.