Pleased to Meat Me

Matthew Derby's Memories of Love

Air supply: Matthew Derby's remembrance of things flat
photo: Thea Breite
Air supply: Matthew Derby's remembrance of things flat


Super Flat Times
By Matthew Derby
Back Bay, 192 pp., $13.95
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The cumulative effect warps perspective—it starts to seem that these stories, born of an involved alchemy, are in a subtly foreign language. Indeed, we learn that the era's lingua franca is called English III—no further elaboration, but the joke underscores the concept's brilliance. This post-apocalypse of erased memory banks is after all a world of lost and only partially found; it makes sense that language itself has been extinguished and tentatively relearned. Derby's methodology—to break something down, squint at its constituent parts, piece it back together—applies not just to words but emotions. The end result is something altogether unexpected and heartbreaking, fragments cemented with the residue of a mysterious violence.

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