Tuesday, September 27, 2011


My son, Harrison, is 7 years old and, for the past 2 or 3 of those years, has been not just someone I loved because he's my son, but someone I loved being around, simply because he's a joy to be around. He's an introvert, like his dad, and he spends a lot of time (too much time?) in his own head. As a result, the stuff that spills out into drawings and songs and stories and general observations is often strange and wonderful and hilarious. It's magic. My response to this spillover is often, "you're a weird little dude, y'know that?" My wife, Rachel, mentioned to me, awhile back, that Harrison might be taking this the wrong way and that I might want to be more clear. So, I sat down with him and said to him, "you know when I say you're weird, I mean it in a good way, right? I'm weird and your mom's weird and most of the most interesting people I know are weird. Weird is good." There was a pause in which I began to panic, worried that I had been damaging my son. Then he looked at me with his weird little half grin and said, "I know, dad, it's one of the things you love about me." I say all that to say, Threats by Amelia Gray is a weird little book.

David knows something has happened to his wife. He's pretty sure she's dead. Detective Chico believes she is dead. David is pretty sure he can trust Detective Chico. He's not sure that he can trust anyone else.

Most fiction that deals with loss, deals with it in a linear way, a way that tugs at heartstrings as we cue music. Threats deals with loss in a broken, confused, and disjointed way. An "I think I might be losing it" way. It doesn't try to make you sympathize with its main character, it tries to put you in his head. People who lose spouses don't cry in a poignant way that exudes quiet strength. They don't speak in insightful proverbs. They feel crazy and sweaty and angry and broken. Threats feels that way too. Which makes Threats far more than just a weird little book.

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