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Discouraging at Best
John Edward Lawson
Already known for his works of speculative fiction, author John Edward Lawson uses Discouraging at Best to take a look at the "real" world. On the pages within are five interlinked tales that, when pieced together, paint a panorama of apathy, greed, and manipulation. We follow the self-inflicted plight of working-class families and their efforts to step on others in the race to get ahead. We watch the petty wars of Nobel laureates. We become immersed in the minds of those caught in an ankle-biters rebellion. We are drawn into the intrigues and incompetence of those pulling the strings at the highest level of government. And, ultimately, we wonder: why? Here the absurdity of the mundane expands exponentially creating a tidal wave that sweeps reason away. For those who enjoy satire, bizarro literature, or a good old-fashioned slap to the senses, Discouraging at Best offers extra helpings of each. "The content of the stories moves from profoundly disturbing to surrealistically hysterical, giving the book a manic texture…John Edward Lawson has written a powerful work with Discouraging at Best. Its stories are strong enough to stand on their own, but when taken in the thematic context of the rest of the book, they reveal added levels of meaning. Raw Dog Screaming Press has a real winner on their hands — a disturbing, thought-provoking, wildly humorous book. Highly recommended."—Jeff Burk for The Dream People "A genuinely funny (yet serious) collection, demonstrating that satire is indeed the vital blood of bizarro fiction; and it should be read by anyone who shares the opinion that America is a ship of fools that is slowly sinking, and all one can do is sigh and laugh at the sight of its going down, disheartened but amused."—Bust Down the Door and Eat All the Chickens "Providing the reader with a mosaic-like narrative comprised of different voices and perspectives, Lawson’s approach is both imaginative and hilarious in its pairings, juxtapositions, and contrasts….Discouraging at Best is an accomplished and enjoyable read. A fabulous introduction to John Edward Lawson’s work as well as a treat for long-time fans, these stories are stylistically innovative and engaging. Highly recommended."—Midwest Book Review