The Facts Behind the Helsinki Roccamatios
Two of the stories in The Facts Behind the Helsinki Roccamatios are merely sophomoric experiments in narrative style. “Manners of Dying” consists of nine versions of a letter from a prison warden to the mother of an executed man, detailing what he ate, how he reacted, whether he spoke to a minister, etc. It is a tedious conceit in questionable taste.
In “The Vita Aeterna Mirror Company,” a young man discovers his grandmother’s machine that creates mirrors out of memories. However, because he does not value those memories, he recounts them as “blah blah blah” on the left side of the page, giving his bored reactions on the right side. Predictably, the silly man in this silly story finally realizes that his grandmother was wiser than he thought.
The title story is a Boccaccio-inspired novella about a young man whose friend is dying of AIDS. To cope...
(The entire section is 293 words.)