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The Guy in 3C and Other Tales, Satires and Fables

86 pages1 hour


The book is a mixed bag of satire, mordant and/or playful wit as well as other forms of non-realistic fiction. One has an upper class man obsessed with propriety and decorum who gets his comeuppance; one, exploring a major problem with democracy, is in the form of a gothic chiller; another takes the form of a medieval tale; two are bird fables roughly in the tradition of Aesop; another a satiric take-off on literary interviews. The title piece satirizes American ethnic identity and its unawareness of history. Most are humorous in spirit, though of course they have an underlying seriousness. There’s even one about an alcoholic, mentally ill street person and a man who had a near-death experience that is structured as a dialectic with a thesis, antithesis and synthesis. And so on. The poet and editor Sonja Skarstedt said in a review of the book when published in 2000 that the collection is “a witty, humorous and enthralling blend of tales” and that the “stories have a distinctive, even sharp-edged narrative tone, with undercurrents of the recognizable, rich tradition.” Arnold Skemer in a review in ZYX #24 (2001) observed that “I've been accustomed to Burnham's essays in THE LONG STORY but hadn't realized that he turns out fables and satires, and has a nasty little wit.”

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