Brian Allen Carr is the author of Vampire Conditions, and his short story collection Short Bus and was the winner of the inaugural Texas Observer Story Prize judged by Larry McMurtry in 2011.
"Vampire Conditions strikes a perfect balance between pensive and humorous, and it shows a writer hard at work and well on his way to the next great thing."
"Vampire Conditions is a worthy read throughout, one I'll return to again. . ."
When I got Vampire Conditions in the mail last week, I sat down just to take a quick look and ended up reading the whole damn thing straight though to the end.
When I finished it, I wanted there to be ten more books just like it that I could read right away but there weren't and never will be, and if I didn't still have the book to hold and flip through, I might wonder if it ever existed in the first place. That's what this book does.
The stories in Vampire Conditions feel like great magic tricks in the sense that when they're over, you sit there, freshly entertained, wondering exactly what just happened. How does Brian Allen Carr do what he does with these stories? You want to know, but you don't want to know. The endings are so perfect that you're left with this feeling that can't be described or accounted for, so you get into the next one, still very impressed with the last, doubtful that he'll be able to replicate the impact, and then he does it again, and again you sit entertained and impressed, trying to figure out exactly what or how things pile up the way they do.
The main characters in these stories range from an adopted teenage Asian kid whose dad gets George Straight to come hear him play some country songs on the guitar, to a middle-aged firework store owner who finds himself with a bunch of baby opossums to deal with as a direct result of something he did. And despite having very different narrators, these stories flow smoothly together and make themselves very easy to read, even though the writing itself isn't the least complicated thing on Earth.
I don't want to say too much because this is the kind of book that's better when you come into it fresh, like going to see a movie you've barely heard anything about, so I'll leave it at this: Vampire Conditions by Brian Allen Carr is fucking fantastic in a way that nothing else is. Read it, everyone.