Review not a writer; read, analyze and understand its writing, which also mirrors and reflects its thoughts and persona.
Reviewed By Kenneth Salzmann for Readers Favorite – 🔆🔆🔆🔆🔆
The more than two dozen short stories in Victoria Ray’s intriguing and inventive collection, So Absurd It Must Be True, undoubtedly deliver a full measure of skillfully wrought absurdity packed into a wide range of characters and plots, from futuristic motifs to resurrected Russian novelists and their characters in altered landscapes, and much more. But it’s the collection’s subtitle — Funny Tales for Dirty Minds, or more expansively elsewhere, The Collection of Surreal Humor, Mystery, and Satire — that more explicitly spells out the nature of the literary treats the reader is in for. The first story in the book ably sets the tone: in Babysitter and Dracula, Rodion Raskolnikov, also known as Babysitter, is a CIA agent (rather than the nihilistic killer protagonist of Crime and Punishment) and Dostoevsky is the elusive leader of a Russian cartel (rather than the author who created Raskolnikov), among the characters in what structurally resembles a familiar spy thriller, replete with a surprise double agent, but in which one absurdity after another carries the plot along.
( photo – from dostoevsky-bts.com website )
As surreal and more than slightly skewed as the people and story elements that populate So Absurd It Must Be True clearly are, Victoria Ray demonstrates great skill as a storyteller and in doing so has created a body of certainly strange but, in the end, highly readable fiction. True, if sex (in all its absurdity and humor) is a deal-breaker for you, you’ll want to shy away. But Ray’s skill as a writer underlies each of the stories and carried me along and buying into whatever impossibilities or weirdness she put in my way. At times, I’m strongly reminded of such masters of absurdity as Beckett and Ionesco, but at others of, say, Kurt Vonnegut, whose work often brims with improbability slipped unobtrusively into the narrative. This quality is especially appealing to me as in When Things Go Wrong, a short piece about a man joining his girlfriend (he had met her only twice in a bar) for Christmas dinner with her family. “Suffice it to say, the Christmas ended badly,” Ray wrote, before revealing just how badly.
Reviewed By Vincent Dublado for Readers’ Favorite – 🔆🔆🔆🔆
You may well think that Victoria Ray’s wild childhood imagination never left her as she grew up, and this imagination has evolved in a mature and surreal way. Try reading So Absurd It Must Be True: The Collection of Surreal Humor, Mystery, and Satire, and you are likely to concur. This is the second volume of her short story anthology. These stories encompass different genres that make this collection stand out, as it seems to refuse being placed in any category, much like a person that does not want to be stereotyped. These stories are mysterious, bizarre, satirical, and sometimes just plain absurd. They are transformative and will provoke you to see things from a different perspective. Have you ever thought about what would happen if God sends his Son to Kyrgyzstan? Now that is just one example…
The writing is a wonderful reflection of quirkiness, sarcasm, wit, and insight. Some or at least one of these stories is likely to stick in your mind and become your favorite. I personally enjoyed the dialogue between Tolstoy and his literary creation, Anna Karenina. Karenina pesters the novelist about why he killed her in the story—and she is determined to find out the truth. However, this book may not suit everyone’s taste, especially those who are not yet familiar with the craft of absurdist humor. As for those who are ready to experiment and open themselves to a unique spin on existence, So Absurd It Must Be True will make you learn, travel, discover, and enjoy the ride with Victoria Ray as she promised.
My congratulations to you, sir. Your manuscript is both good and original; but the part that is good is not original, and the part that is original is not good.