The Orange Suitcase
by Joseph Riippi
Ampersand Books, 2011
92 pages / $14.95 Buy from Ampersand Books
Memories prop us up like skeletons. Each one exists autonomously, with its own root and biology, but put them together and you’ve got an emotional skeleton, something that helps shape who we are and the way we interact with the world around us. Over the course of the 34 short stories that fill The Orange Suitcase, author Joseph Riippi shines an x-ray on himself and examines a series of bone-like memories that are brief reflections on the formative experiences that make up his own skeleton.
October 11th, 2011 / 12:00 pm
J. Bradley is a poet and fiction writer who wears many different hats. He is the author of two excellent books—Dodging Traffic (Ampersand Books 2009) and The Serial Rapist Sitting Behind You is a Robot (Safety Third Enterprises 2010), a slam master for the Orlando Poetry Slam, and the Interviews Editor for PANK. If I were to use one word to describe J. Bradley’s writing, it would be sharp, like a knife. The word “edgy” is often overused when discussing writing but that term is appropriate when talking about J. Bradley’s work. He is often profane and downright inappropriate and yet, his stories and poems are compelling, sometimes funny, and sometimes they’ll tear your heart out of your chest. He’s not writings thing like, “”I’m gonna fuck you so hard, you’re gonna have Down’s Syndrome,” just to be outrageous. There’s always a purpose to the profanity, a method to the madness. When I read Bradley’s writing, I cannot help but think, “Who is this man who dares to go there?”
The Serial Rapist Sitting Behind You is a Robot is a curious little collection of words. Each story is unique but possessing Bradley’s distinct voice. He makes frequent use of analogy, forever comparing one thing to another in ways that are surprising or shocking or charming but always engaging. Whether writing about a boy with chainsaws for arms or a man’s wife’s girlfriend or a wedding ring forged into a bullet, each of the very small stories in this chapbook are strange but controlled and cool breaths of fresh air. Bradley’s wonderful stories offer the reader vivid snapshots you would not be able to see from the mind of any writer but J. Bradley. I loved his chapbook so much I thought I’d ask him a few questions about his writing, warped mind, and other literary endeavors.