Reviews > Published on October 15th, 2014

Bookshots: 'Sex World' by Ron Koertge

Bookshots: Pumping new life into the corpse of the book review


Sex World

Who wrote it?

Poet Ron Koertge, author of The Ogre's Wife and many other great works

I've enjoyed a lot of books this year, but this is the first that I would blanket recommend to almost anyone.

Plot in a box:

On the one hand, it's a collection of flash fiction, so there is no plot. On the other hand, it's a collection of flash fiction, so there are like 50 plots.

Invent a new title for this book:

Did You Know That Ron Koertge is Good at Flash Fiction, Too?

Read this if you liked:

The Ogre's Wife (obviously), Brecken Hancock, Brendan Constantine, story-based poetry, poetry-based stories

Meet the book's lead(s):

Well, there's a pornstar who gets off thinking about domestic life, a dog that may or may not be Jesus, a grip of errant intellectuals who find themselves in mortal danger, several mythical figures exacting revenge in the dating world, a gambler, a homicidal housewife, a homicidal daughter, a set of twins, a set of clones, a werewolf, a war vet, an abortion escort, a robot, a troll, and a geriatric kissing booth Casanova. Oh, and Lois Lane.

Said lead(s) would be portrayed in a movie by:

I've always thought that Mary-Louise Parker would have made a great Lois Lane.

Setting: Would you want to live there?

Several of these pieces are set literally in Hell. I'll pass.

What was your favorite sentence?

The next time a brute oozing the heady oil of self-righteousness pulls me over and says, as they always say, "Do you know why I stopped you?" I'll shout, "I hope it was for that sestina!"

The Verdict:

Ever since I read The Ogre's Wife, I've been a huge fan of Ron Koertge's poetry. Sex World is a collection of flash fiction, though, so I wasn't sure what to expect. If possible, I enjoyed this book even more the Koertge's poetry. Each individual piece is perfectly sized, weighted, and flavored for a unique story experience. Some are only a few short sentences, while the longest come in at almost three full pages, but each creates its own perfectly imperfect characters and universe. If you are already a fan of flash fiction, then this is exemplary stuff that I highly recommend. If you've never read flash fiction before, then this is the perfect gateway to the medium. (I never read much flash fiction before this myself, to be honest.) It truly marries poetry and prose together in such a beautifully interesting way, and of course Ron Koertge is always hilarious in that way that makes readers feel smart for getting the jokes, no matter how low hanging. I've enjoyed a lot of books this year, but this is the first that I would blanket recommend to almost anyone. There's so much to get out of this collection, so many directions that the individual micro-stories take. Many involve death, or sex, or mythology, or mundane modernity, or the common fantastic happenings of the magical realist world, but all are interesting. It's also a really fun and fast book to get through, which I tend to appreciate. Get in; get excited; get out: the perfect book. Read Sex World.

About the author

Brian McGackin is the author of BROETRY (Quirk Books, 2011). He has a BA from Emerson College in Something Completely Unrelated To His Life Right Now, and a Masters in Poetry from USC. He enjoys Guinness, comic books, and Bruce Willis movies.

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