• John Burton

A Short Story Long

This is a book written by my friend Christian Chensvold. I am reviewing it, you should read it.

A few notes. I didn't buy it, he sent it to me. I have sent him two things, neither of which got there, but that is because I dated a Wiccan who put my picture in a compact mirror with a postage stamp (and some of my hair) and, well, you do the math. It didn't end well. I don't like short stories. This is one. It tells the future. I'm not kidding. It's funny. I'm not kidding about that either. I never kid about being funny. And again, you should read it.

Cliff Notes: A fashion writer with a much better vocabulary than a fashion writer would have has a Pierce Brosnan's Bond adventure in an ice castle with a hot chick. And takes a deep dive into what is wrong with where we are and who we are. And proclaims the death of the very necktie he is wearing. And drops more Ivy fashion names than - well than anyone because there aren't a lot of people dropping Ivy fashion names. Let me revise. It is a really, really smart Pierce Brosnan's Bond adventure in an ice castle with a hot chick.

It helps to know the author. This is Christian Chensvold:

He looks pissed, right? He's not. That is the face of a guy who has done a lot of thinking about how fashion is as good a forecaster of the state of things as any other, and also a lot of thinking on the state of things period.

This sound familiar? "Might the time come when neckties will be hard to find? The less men wear them, the fewer will be made. I consoled myself with the thought that any Extinction Level Event would be adequately foreshadowed." Chensvold's a kidder. He did the foreshadowing right there.

Chensvold knows his way around a sentence. Which is one reason why this book is worth buying. You read 10,000 words (that's what the publisher's web site says it is) and you feel like you inhaled 100,000. And you feel as smart as if you read 1,000,000. These Are Our Failures is the nut without the shell. It wastes no time making its considerable points. It makes you care from page 1 ("It was a lazy Sunday afternoon and I was reclining on the sofa listening to Fred Astaire's album with Oscar Peterson leading an all-star sextet..."), it's anachronistic ("He looked like Charles Bronson," - go ahead millennial, ask me who Charles Bronson was), it's damn good writing ("It was a circular argument, or at least it seemed that way because my head was spinning...") and it has some very bad puns (It's not like you don't know I get paid to punch up comedy Christian - "Xanadieu"???).

More than anything, Chensvold knows his subject matter. Fashion. And his other subject matter: the spiritual and moral and physical ramifications of the tide. It's hard to comprehensively review a 10,000 word book without the review becoming longer than the book. But here's the summary: God-freakin-fantastic cultural and fashion references, Philosophy 301, some action, and an hour of your life that gives you back six.

You can buy the book at this website. And if you like any of the above, you probably should.