God When He's Drunk                                            Ken Stange

Tom Waits penned and sang the immortal lines referenced in the title: “Don’t you know there ain’t no devil, there’s just God when he’s drunk.”  He had it right. How else explain the bizarre twists of fate that shape our lives, so well captured in this collection of eighteen stories? As diverse in style as they are in theme, they all share a deep sense of irony about the human condition.

The settings range from a neuroscience lab (in the tale of “The Heart Of A Rat”, which won the prestigious 2011 Vanderbilt-Exile Prize for short fiction) through earthquake-shattered San Francisco to a bar on Bourbon Street.  And the harsh realism of stories about discovering the sordid details of a friend’s demise or the life of a stripper contrast with poignant and fantastic tales of actually meeting God hiding in a southern town, designing and creating one’s ideal mate, and trading in one’s body for a newer model. God may have been drunk, but he had a sense of humour—albeit a very dark one.

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