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Ryan Seacrest is Famous

Dave Housley

I canít tell if weíre falling in love, or if we are just in cahoots. Iím not sure it feels like love. Dorothea is a little too pissed off for that. "

Reviewed by Sara Crowley

The first sentence of the opening story is ďI shaved my balls a day after Claire left.Ē The narrator of Bare becomes obsessed with his pubic hair when his girlfriend leaves. It sets an immediate blokey tone that continues throughout. Housleyís protagonists are usually male, heading into their forties I assume, feeling the first niggles and aches of age, and trying to comprehend the world around. Whilst these guys may drink beers and flounder in crummy apartments, beneath the surface they are struggling, they are sensitive. And beneath the surface of these stories, which at first glance feel slight, there is more too. 

These stories comment on our celebrity-obsessed culture. They are about clowns, wrestling, Fight Club, Jimi Hendrix, Jack Kerouac, reality television contestants and presenters, DJís, and movie soundtracks. 

What would Jimi Hendrix be doing if he were alive today, contending with the business minds that run the music world? 

What if Jack Kerouac was another person trading off fame in order to sell some shopping channel tat? 

Burns, the main character in the title story Ryan Seacrest is Famous, is consumed with envy for the life he imagines Seacrest to live. They were at college together, and he was the cool one. Now he ignores his own wife and her ďIím ovulatingĒ call, favouring his fantasy vision of Seacrestís sex life. 

But there are other themes too, amongst them a sideways look at 9-11. 

Somewhat surprisingly neither of the two strongest tales concerns celebrity: Are you street or popcorn? has a wonderfully intriguing title, and sweetly tells one of those high school outsider stories, but in a fresh and engaging way. Notes for the guy who stole my identity does what it says on the tin. What a cool idea though, told in bite-size pieces and revealing a whole life. 

You do not know how to ride a horse. So far nobody has asked, but if for some reason somebody does donít just hop on up there and expect to be the Lone Ranger.
Itís a fun collection, easy to read, easy to enjoy, and thoughtful too.

Sara Crowley has had fiction published by Pulp.Net, elimae, flashquake and other lovely places. Her novel in progress was shortlisted for the 2007 Faber/Book Tokens Not Yet Published Award.

Sara's other Short Reviews: Neil Smith "Bang Crunch"

Zadie Smith (ed) "The Book of Other People"

Alison McLeod "Fifteen Modern Tales of Attraction"

Miranda July
"No-one Belongs Here More Than You"

PublisherImpetus Press

Publication Date: January 2008

Paperback/Hardback? Paperback

First collection?Yes

Book website: RyanSeacrestisFamous.com

Author bio: Dave Housley is a writer and web geek in Washington, D.C. His work has appeared in or is forthcoming in Gargoyle, Dicey Brown, and Hobart. He is a fiction editor and co-founder of Barrelhouse Magazine.

Read an interview with Dave Housley

Buy this book (used or new) from:

The Publisher's Website: Impetus

Author's recommended bookseller: Barnes and Noble




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