26 Absurdities of Tragic Proportions
Companion Stories to the Gashlycrumb Tinies
Awarded a Finalist Prize in the 2019 American Fiction Awards 'Short Stories' Category by American Book Fest. These Gashlycrumb Tinies companion stories are an utterly fascinating and wryly composed collection of short tales. These darkly humorous tales capture the essence of wit and satire with one tale for each child depicted in Gorey's most famous illustrations. These tales are all about human behavior, characteristics, chance and choice, and life and death.
Hoping for an entry for the happy-ending machine? Herein, there is very little hope one can give you. This is a humorous gumbo of literary influences from Charles Dickens to Charles Addams, from Edgar Allan Poe to Steven King, and from Lemony Snickets to Jean Shepherd, but with a comedic voice unique to Mr. Woodruff as well. This gruesomely hilarious alphabet will delight Edward Gorey fans, for sure, as well as any others who frequent the darker side of comedy. Each vignette exists in its own sarcastic twilight zone, adding up to a treat for axe murderers, pirates, ninjas, and political pundits of all ages. Well, at least the ages at which you would want to terrify the young.
I was very, very impressed with Mr. Woodruff's ability to take 26 itty-bitty yarns and spin them into one spectacular, albeit grim, multicolored blanket with which to cover oneself on a cold night. But don't fret, dear reader, because the stories aren't quite as Gorey...er, gory, as you would suppose; they're actually handled with a lot of care and more often than not, intimated rather than grimly drawn out - perhaps 98% of the content of the tales was the lead-up with the final 2% being the actual denouement. To me, ironically, this is what really made the tales come alive. With every story, I was astonished as to how the author could take the one little line provided by Mr. Gorey and make a full-fledged, sometimes intricate, tale from it. Best of all, though, was that all of these stores were told so casually, as if Mr. Woodruff was sitting in his rocker with a corncob pipe in his mouth, telling these macabre tales to his astounded audience.