Wellness and Complementary Medicine

 email page    print page

All Topic Reviews
Self-Compassion in Psychotherapy10 Minute Solution: Butt Lift10 Minute Solution: High Intensity Interval Training101 Ways to Meditate3-In-1 Total Body Fitness with Desi Bartlett30 Minute Ab & Butt Blaster5 Day Fit Yoga5 Mega Miles with Toning Band7 Weeks to 100 Push-Ups8 Keys to Practicing MindfulnessA Journey Into Yin YogaA Philosophy for the Science of Well-BeingA Student's Guide to the History And Philosophy of Yoga A.M. EnergyAgeless Mobility: Pain-Free Wellness For LongevityAlmost MeatlessAlready FreeAlternative Medicine?AltruismAnd BreatheAnywhere, Anytime, Any Body YogaAthlete's Guide to YogaBack in Action: Yoga for a Healthy BackBack To Basics: Fitness with Charlotte OrdBalanced AssetsBedroom Body: Booty Burner, Core & Pelvic Floor WorkoutBeginners Meditation & Mindful StretchingBeginners Yoga DVDBeginning YogaBellyFit ElementsBethenny's Skinnygirl WorkoutBeyond the SelfBody By BethennyBody Mindful YogaBorn to Balance - Balance BasicsBreath-Centered YogaBrightening Our Inner SkiesCalm Body Clear MindCalm Focus JoyCardio for Beginners with Petra KolberChakra MeditationsComplementary and Alternative Therapies ResearchContemplative Psychotherapy EssentialsCore Fusion - Pilates PlusCore Fusion - Pure Abs & ArmsCore Fusion - Thighs & GlutesCore Fusion Body SculptCore Fusion Lean & TonedCore Fusion Power SculptCore Strength PilatesCore Strength Vinyasa Yoga Power Hour with Sadie NardiniCore YogaCultural Healing and Belief SystemsDance Off the Inches: Cardio Hip Hop PartyDeep ListeningDeep Stretch / Yin YogaDetox YogaDr. Andrew Weil's Guide to Eating WellDr. Yoga House CallEasy YogaElement: Barre ConditioningElement: Targeted Toning Pilates for BeginnersElement: Yoga for Stress Relief & FlexibilityElements of Yoga, Earth FoundationsElements of Yoga, Fire DynamicElements of Yoga: Air & WaterEveryday Workout for the Everyday WomanEveryday Yoga for Stress Release Everything VeganExercise for Mood and AnxietyExercise-Based Interventions for Mental IllnessExhale Core Fusion 30 Day SculptFamily ForagingFamily YogaFit Family Fun CircuitFit in 5 DVDFlat Abs PilatesFlow YogaFluid Power Vinyasa Flow YogaFood You Can ForageFully PresentGaiam Pilates Slide and Sculpt Kit with DVDGaiam Pilates Total Toning KitGaiam Yoga For Weight Loss KitGet Fit Through GardeningGet Ripped & ChiseledGet RIPPED! 1000 #3Get RIPPED! and Jacked - The Boomer WorkoutGet Stronger Bones: 3 Workouts For OsteoporosisHandbook of MindfulnessHappy Yoga DVDHealing the Heart and Mind with MindfulnessHealing through ExerciseHealing Through Movement: Pilates Head to ToeHealing, Hype, or Harm?Healthy Sexy Beautiful Kundalini YogaHemalayaa: Bollywood BootyHow to Be a StoicHow to Cook Everything VegetarianHow Would Buddha Act?In Defense of FoodInsight Yoga Earth: Balancing Yin EnergyInsight Yoga Heaven: Balancing YangIntegrated YogaInternational Perspectives on Reminiscence, Life Review and Life Story WorkKids Teach Yoga - Flying EagleKidYogi - Yoga for ChildrenKripalu YogaKundalini Yoga : DVDKUNDALINI YOGA for Your Week - MONDAYKUNDALINI YOGA for Your Week - TUESDAY - CoreKundalini Yoga MeditationKundalini Yoga Meditation for Beginners & BeyondKundalini Yoga Meditation for Complex Psychiatric DisordersKundalini Yoga on the BallKundalini Yoga Solar Power All-In-One WorkoutKundalini Yoga to Detox and Destress DVDKundalini Yoga Transformer All-In-One WorkoutKundalini Yoga: Green Energy of the HeartLetting Go!LifeForce Yoga to Beat the Blues--Level 1LifeForce Yoga to Beat the Blues: Level 2Living BeautifullyLiving Room Yoga DVDLiving Room Yoga: Twist and BendLunar Flow YogaMake It Fast, Cook It SlowManage Your Depression Through ExerciseMaui PilatesMayo Clinic Wellness Solutions for Back PainMayo Clinic Wellness Solutions for IBSMayo Clinic Wellness Solutions for InsomniaMeditations for BeginnersMind GamesMindful AmericaMindful ColoringMindfulnessMindfulnessMindfulness for BeginnersMindfulness for CarersMindfulness for TwoMindfulness in Plain EnglishMindfulness-Based Treatment Approaches: Clinician's Guide to Evidence Base and ApplicationsMisadventures of a Garden State YogiNamaste Yoga: Season 3 Part 1Natural FlexibilityNew Good FoodNew VegetarianNew York PilatesNext-Level PilatesNutrition Essentials for Mental HealthPain Free at WorkPeace Is Every BreathPerfect in Ten AbsPerfect in Ten: PilatesPerfect in Ten: StretchPerfect in Ten: YogaPilates AnatomyPilates for BeginnersPositivityPower to the Peaceful YogaPower YogaPower YogaPower YogaPower Yoga: Core PowerPower Yoga: Fat BurnerPower Yoga: Strength and FlexibilityPrenatal FlowPrescriptive StretchingPresence Through Movement: Yin YogaPsychology Moment by MomentPure and Simple YogaPure SculptQi Gong Fire & Water With Matthew CohenQi Gong Flow for BeginnersQi Gong for Low Back PainQi Gong for Upper Back and Neck PainQi Gong for Weight LossQi Workout AM/PMQiGong for Healthy Joints & BonesQiGong IllustratedQuick Blast MethodRadiant Heart Yoga DVDReach - Upbeat Toning & Flexibility for a Dancer's BodyRelax Into Yoga for SeniorsResistance Stretching With Dara TorresRestorative Yoga PracticeRestorative Yoga PracticeSara Ivanhoe's Taste DVDSelfless InsightSleepSoupsSparkSpontaneous HappinessStep By Step Strength TrainingStep by Step Tai ChiStrength & SpiritStress Relief to GoStretchStrong & SculptedStrong Body, Ageless BodySuper Seniors: Box, Balance, & Lift Surf Yoga SoulSybel's Yoga For Sports & FitnessSybel's Yoga For Sports & Fitness Vol 2Tai Chi for Beginners with Grandmaster William C. C. ChenTeen YogaTeenYogi DVDTen Zen Tummy TonersThe 6 Qualities of ConsciousnessThe Accidental VeganThe Art and Science of MindfulnessThe Athlete's Guide to YogaThe Best Things You Can EatThe Bodymind Ballwork MethodThe Booty Barre -Total New BodyThe Complete Book of Raw FoodThe Get Healthy, Go Vegan CookbookThe Harvard Medical School Guide to YogaThe Healing Remedies SourcebookThe Healing Remedies SourcebookThe Kettlebell BoomerThe Light of DiscoveryThe Mandala of BeingThe Meat Lover's Meatless CookbookThe Mindful Way through DepressionThe Nature FixThe Origins of HappinessThe Perfect ExerciseThe Psychology of LifestyleThe Qi Healing KitThe Road to Calm WorkbookThe Science of SleepThe Science of YogaThe Sense of SelfThe Spirit of Buddhist MeditationThe Spirit of Tibetan BuddhismThe Ultimate BALLET YOGAThe Ultra MindsetThe Way We Eat NowThe Well-Tuned BrainThe Yin Yoga KitTotal Health the Chinese WayTotal-Body ToningTransform Yourself with Jivamukti YogaTransformative YogaTrudie Styler's Cardio Dance FlowTrudie Styler's Warrior YogaUnderstanding the PelvisV-Core WorkoutVegan ExpressVegan for LifeVegetarian Visitor 2008VegetarianoViniyoga Therapy for the Low Back, Sacrum and HipsViniyoga Therapy for the Upper Back, Neck and ShouldersViva Vegan!Walk It Off in 30 DaysWalk to the HITS Radio RemixesWatch Me Do YogaWeight Loss Cardio KickWeight Watchers: Ultimate Belly SeriesYin and Yang YogaYin Yoga DVDYogaYogaYoga - Philosophy for EveryoneYoga : Beginners Flow for EveryoneYoga AnatomyYoga as MedicineYoga Bliss HipsYoga BodyYoga Body : Lean & Defined Total Body WorkoutYoga By Teens DVDYoga Emergency DVD: Arms & ShouldersYoga Emergency DVD: BackYoga Emergency DVD: Full Leg StretchYoga Emergency DVD: HipsYoga Emergency DVD: PregnancyYoga Flow DVDYoga for AnxietyYoga for AthletesYoga for Back CareYoga for BeginnersYoga for Energy & Stress ReliefYoga for FitnessYoga for MeditatorsYoga for OsteoporosisYoga for Pain ReliefYoga for Strength & EnergyYoga for Strength & FlexibilityYoga for Your WeekYoga in BedYoga Inside Out: Go DeeperYoga Inside Out: The Healing WayYoga Journal's Yoga for StressYoga Journal: Yoga for Strength and Toning DVDYoga Link: Core IntegrationYoga Link: Hip HelpersYoga Link: Shoulder Shape-UpYoga Nidra for Complete Relaxation and Stress ReliefYoga Quick FixesYoga Skills for Therapists:Yoga TherapyYoga TherapyYoga Therapy for Back PainYoga Therapy Prescriptions - 60 Health Restorative SequencesYoga to the Rescue - Feel Good from Head to ToeYoga to the Rescue for Back PainYoga to the Rescue for Neck & ShouldersYoga to the Rescue for Pain-Free Back, Neck & ShouldersYoga, Karma, and RebirthYoga: Freedom from Back PainYoga: Relief from Neck and Shoulder PainYoga: Spirit of Vinyasa FlowYogabodyYogawomanYou Can Think Yourself ThinYour Body Breakthru - Your Best Body Circuit DVDYour Brain on Food: How Chemicals Control Your Thoughts and Feelings,Your Brain on YogaZen Encounters with Loneliness

Related Topics
Dead BoysReview - Dead Boys
by Richard Lange
Little, Brown, 2007
Review by Tony O'Brien
Dec 25th 2007 (Volume 11, Issue 52)

In his introduction to this year's Best American Short Stories, editor Stephen King laments that the American short story is alive, but not well. Too much competition from film, too many alternative ways to tell brief stories. If that's not enough, magazines like Tin House and Glimmer Train are tucked away in the bottom shelf of the bookstore. One imagines the increasingly aged devotee of short fiction pondering the risks of a pulled muscle before stooping to peruse.  It's becoming increasing harder to get short fiction published, print runs are depressingly small, and, worst of all, the audience is increasingly being reduced to other writers, editors, and teachers of "creative writing". The result is that even those stories that do get published don't satisfy King's demand that a short story should firstly tell a story. They are too heavy on artifice and allusion; the authors are writing for authors, not readers.     

If King is right about the health of the short story he can't blame the author of Dead Boys, Richard Lange. The twelve stories in his debut collection have the raw power of a stray bullet, probably fired by one of Lange's desperate, depressed characters, high on speed or unhinged from the lack of it. They are definitely not written to please the teacher of a writing program; they are occasionally harsh, sometimes reflective, always stripped down and straight to the point. The stories are all set in LA, and although there are a few glimpses of the Hollywood lifestyle, they are fragments only. Lange's focus is on the bad side of Sunset Boulevard, where if you want a view you have to paint it on the concrete wall of the apartment outside your window. The protagonist of the poignantly-titled Everything Beautiful Is Far Away does exactly that, musing that "Everybody has the right to something nice". These are stories of lives all but devoid of hope, of relationships derailed as easily as changing a TV channel, of needles and the damage done.

Lange's protagonists are men, on the whole. They nurse memories of loss and abandonment. They live for the next job, legal or illegal. They don't expect their current relationship will continue and mostly, they're right. If Lange's men seek redemption, and many seem to regard such an idea of one more humiliating hoax, they seek it in a fortuitous and unlikely change in circumstances, rather than in any change in themselves. The world has hurt them, and most don't have the resources to make a life; they live not only with their past, but in their past. 

The prose of these stories is as stark as the lives depicted. Take the first line from Telephone Bird: "In a decent world, losing the car would have been the last knot in that particular string of bad luck". In The Hero Shot a man is evicted from his apartment, it's raining, and he's down to his last fifty. He's playing the hard man, but he wants a break, and there's something plaintive in his plea: "A good idea, a fresh start. Something. Anything. Please." In Long Lost another man, increasingly distant from his wife, notices an aging astronaut at a stand in a shopping mall, ignored by mothers more intent on getting Polaroid snaps of the kids with Santa. Here is a man who is Somebody, but he's ignored anyway, and if Lange's protagonist can muster the energy, he'll "get up off this bench and ask him why my hands feel like they belong to somebody else." Amongst the gloom there are a few bright rays, such as this observation in the title story: "I recall a sunrise like that in Hawaii. Something like that can save your life if you use it later, when you need it." The hint that it might pay to hang on to something good does more than enough to suggest it's not likely to last.

One of Lange's strong suits is atmosphere, and it never lets up. Whether the setting is a motel room, a bar, a convenience store, or a second hand car lot, Lange puts you there, and makes sure you take notice. Often, you'd like to be somewhere else, but Lange doesn't let his readers off the hook. Lange's is an urban landscape of concrete and glass, lit by sodium lamps and flashing police lights. It's like he's determined to show you the bad side of the city, and you're not going home until you've seen it all.

Everything in these stories happens with an amphetamine-fuelled intensity. There were a few times when it seemed just a little overdone, as in this line from Telephone Bird: "Water screamed out of the tap and thudded into the kettle". Apart from the contrast in sounds, presumably heard at the same time, I wanted to tell Lange "I already get that you're on edge." There is also a sense that Lange's main characters are not sufficiently distinguished from story to story. They speak and act in closely similar ways; share important personality flaws, and have similar life trajectories. Although Lange builds a colorful cast around them it would be more rewarding if this complexity of character was shared by the main characters across the range of stories. It may be that a collection brought together from stories published separately over a number of years suffers by having each story up against two others. Individually, these stories would add an element of plain-spoken danger to most literary publications.

Authors like Richard Lange deserve that Stephen King's diagnosis of the American short story is wrong. Writing of this urgency deserves to be read, and read widely. I've never understood the attraction of the airport blockbuster. Why risk an extra baggage charge for a bloated over-told mystery, war saga, or historical romance? Why not a collection of sharply told short stories?  If they were Richard Lange's you could be sure you'd be awake for the in-flight meal. Probably best recommended as you leave LA, rather than as you fly in, especially if you scare easily. 

© 2007 Tony O'Brien

Tony O'Brien is a short story writer, and lecturer in mental health nursing at the University of Auckland, New Zealand: a.obrien@auckland.ac.nz 


Welcome to Metapsychology. We feature over 8200 in-depth reviews of a wide range of books and DVDs written by our reviewers from many backgrounds and perspectives. We update our front page weekly and add more than twenty new reviews each month. Our editor is Christian Perring, PhD. To contact him, use one of the forms available here.

Metapsychology Online reviewers normally receive gratis review copies of the items they review.
Metapsychology Online receives a commission from Amazon.com for purchases through this site, which helps us send review copies to reviewers. Please support us by making your Amazon.com purchases through our Amazon links. We thank you for your support!

Join our Google Group!

Interested in becoming a book reviewer for Metapsychology? To apply, write to our editor.

Metapsychology Online Reviews

Promote your Page too

Metapsychology Online Reviews
ISSN 1931-5716