The Smallest People Alive
Carnegie Mellon University Press
, Jan 1, 2004
- 260 pages
In The Smallest People Alive, Keith Banner writes about people and situations many times ignored by other fiction writers. These are stories focused on lives outside the mainstream, and yet they are invested with precision, tenderness and artistry. The title story, awarded an O. Henry Prize, chronicles the lives of two boyhood friends, one who is recovering from a suicide attempt, the other trying to figure out how he can help. In their stumbling allegiance to each other, they find a sort of solace, and as the story reaches its conclusion the reader is given an intimate view of what it means to wake up from a nightmare and realize you have to go on living, even though life may not be worth it all of the time.
Other stories in The Smallest People Alive involve two gentlemen with mental disabilities preparing for their wedding, a janitor working late hours dreaming of revenge, and a gay teenager taking the night off from Burger King to search for the body of his murdered cousin. All these characters and their stories, while unsettling, are revealed with a serious intent and a big heart. The smallest people alive can sometimes turn out to be the most interesting, and the most enlightening, people you will ever meet.