by Juliet Escoria
Civil Coping Mechanisms, 2014
144 pages / $13.95 buy from Amazon
1. Juliet Escoria, as a writer, is like a birthday present you didn’t expect to get but secretly hoped you would.
2. It’s hard to pick a “favorite” from Black Cloud—but my top three would probably be “Heroin Story”, “Reduction”, and “I Do Not Question It”.
3. I feel like I know all of Escoria’s characters. I empathize with them. I care about them. I want to fuck up all the shit that made them miserable because, to me, they deserve better.
4. There are stories within these stories—little hints into the lives of these characters that stick with you.
5. Playlist for this book: Gary Jules’ version of “Mad World” on repeat.
6. Feel like Escoria is a new-age Bukowski but is extremely new and original at the same time.
7. These stories seem so real that I can’t decide if Escoria actually lived through all this or not. (Probably took experiences from her own life to build around these stories—that’s obvious—but I’m more so troubled with the idea that her life has been that awful thus far.)
8. Declaration: Black Cloud is the best work produced by a new, young writer this year and I challenge anyone to top it. (Spoilers: you won’t.)
9. Black Cloud makes you realize how good your life is.
10. Sadly, a lot of Generation Y can relate to the absence of fathers in this story collection.
11. “Cocaine is a hell of a drug.” —Rick James
12. Became immensely depressed when Adam and the narrator fed baby mice to fish in “Glass, Distilled”.
13. Escoria’s writing style is strangely minimalistic and vivid. She understands the basic principle of showing me instead of telling me.
14. Life lesson from this book: don’t do meth.
15. Just realized that Bob Seger’s “Mainstreet” and “Turn the Page” fit these stories in a rundown, Barfly kind of way. (Prepared to get flack from the indie lit community for saying that.)
16. Kind of want Escoria to write a story about my life.
17. These stories have been following me around like little black clouds the last few days. I can’t get them out of my head. Black Cloud is like the “Somebody That I Used To Know” (by Gotye) of literature.
18. Thought that came to mind while reading this book: “Juliet Escoria knows how to party.”
19. Life lesson from this book: don’t do heroin.
20. Who the fuck cuts off genital warts and tapes them to a notebook for safekeeping?
21. This book made me question how sexually active I should be.
22. Reading Black Cloud was like watching a really good movie—it ended too soon and I wanted to experience it all again.
23. Feel like all of these drug habits would be extremely expensive to maintain.
24. Relieved that my generation actually has real writers like Escoria.
25. Do something useful with your cash and buy this book.