Review of Nathaniel G. Moore’s JETTISON

Jettison: Stories
Nathaniel G. Moore. Anvil Press, $20 paperback (256p) ISBN: 978-1772140477

Nathaniel G. Moore is no stranger to the odd. Take his first book, the faux sports tell-all Bowlbrawl, or Let’s Pretend We Never Met. Full of linguistic tricks, this latter collection is chalk full of hijinks and features a book-length escapade with the Roman poet Catullus. With Jettison, his debut fiction collection, Moore begins with a new version of his version of Catullus – somehow alive and trying to steal his roommate’s girlfriend – or at least her dress. He speaks in broken English, hates the winter and keeps cooked ground beef in tube socks on the kitchen counter. He enjoys playing badminton, riding his bike and terrifying people with a homemade chainsaw. The aura of discomfort the story presents is enough to make you reconsider over-thinking romantic relationships. Romance and horror are obvious themes in this bawdy collection, the words “romantic” and “horror” both appear online in catalogue copy. Another story called “Jaws” describes a father’s obsession with a girlfriend who he introduced his kids to when they were younger as Aunt Louise. The narrator is in his final years of life and is recalling with much joy the wild times he had
with Louise, who may or may not have been a college drop out sea monster. The descriptions of their playful sexual past are done well, if not entirely over the top. The aquatic sea monster imagery is ribald, with hints of Aquaman’s ability to summon oceanic creatures to do his biding. The deadpan voice the narrator maintains makes up for any moments the reader may face thinking how on earth can this be happening? Other stories deal with capitalism and identity nicely, such as “The Magic Kingdom Empire” which takes place during the 2012 sale of LucasFilms to the Disney Corporation. The interoffice frenzy is mitigated by a strong interpersonal portrait of an otherwise faceless protagonist, working away up the corporate ladder. “American Psycho” tells the story of two writers living in Toronto who have a strange friendship which borders on abuse. They hang out, talk, demand favours of one another and send hostile texts back and forth, all the while one of them is working retail at an American Apparel pop up shop. “Tell Richard I’m going to break his legs!” Susan Malkin tells the struggling writer’s fiancé who answers his phone one afternoon after twenty-five rings. Curious, I googled American Apparel and the author’s name and he did work at a pop up shop for a while in 2013. “The Amazing Spiderman” perfectly captures teenage lust and vacation anxiety simultaneously, though the boner-popping protagonist obsessed with a Florida goth girl does come off as a tad hypersexual, but with a comedic charm similar to Sam Weir from Freaks and Geeks. Jettison is not a pull-your-hair-out-and-run-out-the-door-screaming-horror-show, but rather an entertaining whirlwind of premise, playing with familiar tropes such as family reunions, romantic fallouts, our role in destroying the world, and our obsession with chaos, conflict and communication. (October 2016)

Purchase Jettison HERE.

Reviewer bio: Jenny Simpson is a freelance writer and poet from Nova Scotia, Canada. Her work has appeared in Paper Darts, and is forthcoming in Nova. She lives with her boyfriend and two dogs named Glacier and Bear.