Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps

He grew up. One of our favorite punk writers has matured: It happens. With a mixture of emotions, we realize that Joe Meno is now a professor at Columbia College in his native Chicago; he has a wife and 2.5 kids and lives in a pink house with a white picket fence. No; everything after “wife” is an insinuation. Joe Meno only has one kid, and we have no idea where he lives or what the fencing situation is there. But for fans who know the author mostly for Hairstyles of the Damned (one of the best and most honest stories to feature Manic Panic users as protagonists) the new novel, The Great Perhaps, is kind of a shock. But we should have been paying closer attention: He’s put out two major collections of short stories and another novel in the five years since Hairstyles, the way a maturing writer would. The Great Perhaps is set in the household of a sad family, and empathizes with all of them, a la the film The Squid and the Whale or Donnie Darko, both of which are similar in tone to Perhaps. It’s very beautiful, and is getting good reviews (Booklist and Library Journal, for example). So, Hairstyles groupies -- go forewarned, but go.
Tue., June 9, 7 p.m., 2009

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