Indentations and Other Stories

Joe Schall
Published: 1991
Subjects: Literature
ISBN: 9780814779170
Number of pages: 182 pages

Indentation and Other Stories is a collection of nine stories ranging from the wildly funny and idiosyncratic to the downright bizarre. The title story features a pathological dentist who seeks a quirky catharsis by decorating his apartment in hygienic dental paraphernalia. Other tales frolic through the lives of characters who border on the delightfully absurd: a woman, after going through menopause, struggles to recreate her menstrual periods by altering her diet; a former New York street reporter, fired because of his "ideals," aspires to become a credible street person and decides, tentatively, to have a religious experience; an English major turned psychologist writes a pseudoscientific "article"—complete with footnotes and a University of New Jersey cover letter—which argues, by example, for the use of figurative language in scientific journal writing. Other stories are more humanizing: "The Perils of Asthma" is a sympathetic lok at a twelve-year-old boy struggling to grow up amidst his perplexing asthma, his eccentric Catholic parents, and his mystifying quasi-erections. All of the stories are grounded in the allure of language, the luxuriance of detail, and the celebration of human compulsion and obsession.