In Shane Hinton's debut collection, gritty Florida realism collides with the absurd, and paternal fears materialize in surreal scenarios. A young Shane Hinton catalogs his dead pets. A father-to-be Shane Hinton combats roving pythons in the suburbs. Yet another Shane Hinton throws a barbecue for all the Shane Hintons he's met on the Internet and fears his wife might leave him for one. Hinton, a father of three, inserts himself into these fictions as a way of confronting personal anxieties. ''It's cliché to say that one thinks of writing as therapy,'' he says, ''but I think these stories represent an exorcism of intrusive thoughts.'' In ''Intersection,'' a father struggles to protect his frightened family from cars that keep crashing into their home, while in ''Driving School'' he's imagined as a vehicular menace. ''Fumes'' portrays a father crippled by a rabid dog, bedridden and unable to play catch with his son or help his wife pay the ever-growing medical bills. A sharp commentary on the mundanity and absurdity of modern life, Hinton's stories explore the horrors of death, abandonment and insurance agents with spare prose and deadpan humor. The world of Pinkies is a terrifying and hilarious introduction to an unflinching new voice.
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