January 13, 2016

Review: The Year of the Stolen Bicycle Tire and Other Stories by Andrew Kozma


Title: The Year of the Stolen Bicycle Tire and Other Stories

Author: Andrew Kosma

Publisher: Smashwords Editions

Date of Publication: 2015

Disclaimer: The author provided me a copy of his book in exchange of an honest review. Thank you so much!

Summary

The Year of the Stolen Bicycle Tire and Other Stories is a collection of weird, beautiful literary fiction containing four stories based in the fictional college town of Martinsville, Florida, as well as Athens, Greece, and Grandfather Mountain in North Carolina.

The title story concerns a philosophy professor bent on taking revenge against a bike tire thief, who also happens to be one of his students. In An Apartment Hunter’s Guide to Martinsville, a young woman attempts, without luck, to find an apartment and perhaps a friend in her newly-adopted city. Mile-High Bridge tells of a couple climbing a mountain to give their cat a wilderness burial, and what they find along the way. Lastly, The Gypsy is about a couple in Athens, Greece, just after a city-wide riot, who find a woman who promises to rid them of their bad luck.

Review

The Year of the Stolen Bicycle Tire and Other Stories is a collection of four short stories, all having some kind of bizarreness about them. But before anything else, I have to admit that I loved instantly the title! It grabbed my interest and I wanted to see what happened in the story with the same name.

As it turned out, The Year of the Stolen Bicycle Tire was my least favourite story of the collection. I was pretty curious about the professor, Nathan, and why he hated David so much. Although there was no reason for him to suspect his student for his stolen tires, this fact didn't felt out of place. Instead, I could understand why he would feel jealousy towards David. The way he chose to take his revenge though wasn't satisfying at all. But what I really didn't like about the story is that the narration wasn't as straight-forward as I'd like. There were instances where Nathan was dragging on about his own thesis and his own philosophy, which felt tiring and they were taking a completely different route from the main story.

The second story, An Apartment Hunter's Guide to Martinsville, was a little odd, but compelling at the same time. A woman is in search of an apartment in the fictional town of Martinsville and we follow her as she visits several of them. None of those apartments is completely normal and we keep wondering whether she'll manage to find a place to stay, a thing that we never learn. At the same time, she is convinced to find a friend in this new town she moved. A potential candidate is a man that, we suppose, becomes eventually her landlord, but what is wrong with him?

Mile-High Bridge is the story that follows. This is yet another strange story, but intriguing, like the previous one. I liked the subtle flirting with the supernatural and Nick was such a likable character. But in this journey, Jordan and Nick didn't sound like a happy couple, which troubled me a lot. Despite this fact, this is the story that I liked the most.

The collection closes with the short story called The Gypsy. I won't hide that I liked that it took place in Athens, a setting so familiar to me. The story was supposed to occur after a big riot, but there wasn't anything more than the mention of it that made me believe that this was actually the case. To be honest, this fact didn't really offer anything to the plot. In The Gypsy, the supernatural elements were also present and I liked it a lot. Another thing that I liked is that not only money didn't bring happiness, but it's basically a curse to the couple.

All in all, The Year of the Stolen Bicycle Tires and Other Stories is a great collection of short stories. All of them have interesting elements and if you don't mind strange things happening, then you'll definitely enjoy it.  


This counts as a short story collection in the 2016 Reading Challenge.

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