Review of Kevin Catalano's THE WORD MADE FLESH

Kevin Catalano. firthFORTH Books, $8.95 trade paper (58p) ISBN: 978-1938466021

The Word Made Flesh by Kevin Catalano is a short book of short stories about human desire encapsulated in religious thematics. There's also a decent amount of sex largely paralleled with love and religion, how they can be ruining.

The opening story, which reads like an un-canonized Biblical text translated and fit into the King James Bible, sets the stage aptly, “and the men came down the mountain, came out of the wilderness cast in furs and skins...leaving the sea to lap at the congregation of bones.” Here I found Catalano at his strongest as he sets a scene and gives the reader a specific emotion keeping them in that moment, that feeling and sustaining it—reminded me of Barthelme.

While I enjoyed Catalano's writing on a sentence level, finding his voice truly interesting, I didn't always care for the stories themselves, mainly the ones revolving around Luke—the truck driver with a devastatingly large dick. Luke hadn't been with a woman in years because his manhood is so large no one can handle it. Until he meets Jessie, a recovering alcoholic who is nearly one year clean of both booze and sex. I don't want to give too much away but let's say...Luke tears it up. I couldn't help but be reminded of Chuck Palahniuk in a way I don't think Catalano was aiming for.

His writing is interesting, sentence structure is strong, there are moments where I paused and admired the sentence thoroughly, but I felt some of the stories didn't compel me beyond my interest for the sentence. And that's where I was left wondering and hoping for something really stunning, which I was given by the last story in the collection. “The Secret in the Bone,” is my favorite piece in The Word Made Flesh. The entire story is excellent especially the last few paragraphs. “The boy puts his hand on Mark's back and gestures at the water. They'll be coming soon, he says. When they do, offer yourself, and listen closely to how you're consumed.”

The Word Made Flesh is ambitious, an interesting debut collection with a unique voice. (August, 2012)

Purchase The Word Made Flesh HERE.

Reviewer bio: Ben Spivey is the author of two books, Black God (Blue Square Press 2012) and Flowing in the Gossamer Fold (Blue Square Press 2010). His writing has been published in places like elimae, PANK and Abjective.