Robert Anasi, author of The Gloves, and The Last Bohemia, comments on This Is Not Happening to You
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
This is Not Happening to You, the debut collection of stories from New York writer Tim Tomlinson, might just rescue the twenty-first century literati set from a jet lag inducing conservatism and PC hysteria. Tomlinson gets to the gutsy and often hilarious truth of who we are in prose that’s poetic and unforgiving – like a well-timed right hook. No sprigs of lavender here. Just a heady and sardonic car crash of characters you won’t be able to turn away from – murderous movie star widowers, wild boys and their dogs, rogues and their half grasped lovers, people on all kinds of edges, ex-poets at the bar. Tomlinson has the audacity to tell it how it is and we should get down on our knees and thank some dank, dark force of nature for that. – Sally Breen, author of Atomic City, a novel, and the memoir The Casuals
Come September, my collection of short fiction, This Is Not Happening to You, arrives. Early reads have been positive, and I’m so thankful to Sheila Kohler and Bronwen Hruska for providing the following endorsements.
These spare, unsentimental, and skillful stories draw us in from the start. Tim Tomlinson obliges us to confront our failures and foibles without flinching, writing with searing honesty and considerable courage about people in trouble of various kinds –and does that not include us all?—Sheila Kohler, author of the memoir Once We Were Sisters, the novel Dreaming for Freud, and eight other books
If you like your short fiction sweet and prim with nice neat endings that land on the right side of the fuzzy moral line, DO NOT READ THIS BOOK. If you prefer your characters a bit unsavory, morally challenged and wildly memorable, you will not be able to put down this kick-ass collection. With zen-like mastery of language, a razor-sharp eye for detail and talent for finding danger and surprise in the familiar, Tomlinson holds his own with the best writers of the genre. —Bronwen Hruska, author of Accelerated
And thankful to Mari Otsu for providing the cover painting.