THIS IS NOT HAPPENING TO YOU ranges with imaginative ease across locales and characters – a wealthy socialite in the Hamptons, a bitter old Korean War vet in the suburbs, a 30-something drunk in New Orleans with delusions of grandeur, and many others. Quickly sketched but nevertheless fully realized, these figures stumble into extreme (yet somehow plausible) situations that expose their all-too-human delusions. Above all, Tomlinson focuses on the cruelty of desire that makes each of us in turn predator and prey, martyr and buffoon. In the hands of a less assured talent these stories would offer only a grim accounting of human sin and stupidity, yet Tomlinson leavens them with humor that is by turns wry, patient, and tender, although never sentimental. Sui generis as Tomlinson’s sensibility is, it draws on one of the richest veins in American Letters, ‘Made in New York’ stamped on every insight and sentence. By turns sardonic, irreverent, bold, psychologically astute and always engaging, Tomlinson has placed himself in the company of celebrated New York writers past, a pantheon that includes Hart Crane, Anatole Broyard, Dorothy Parker, and above all Leonard Michaels, who would have recognized a kindred spirit in the pages of TINHTY. While the city that provided inspiration to generations of artists has all but disappeared, in Tomlinson’s stories we encounter a late florescence of the unique sensibility that New York gave to the world.
–Robert Anasi, author of The Gloves: A Boxing Chronicle, and The Last Bohemia: Scenes from the Life of Williamsburg, Brooklyn