The first story in the book, "I Clean in Silence", stands out in that it's one of only two pieces in the book that's written in traditional paragraphs, rather than in the style of each sentence as a paragraph like most of the book. It certainly has all the other markings of a Noah Cicero story with its crude humor, its neurotic narrator, and its existential pondering that is never pretentious. As the title suggests, the story is about a woman's thoughts as she quietly cleans the house. She thinks about her boyfriend, her body, her self-loathing, and how hopeless everything seems.
I want the beauty of the west, the mountains, rocky coasts, sea urchins, long strips of highway, endless fields and clear rivers. But all I have are these dishes. Dirty dishes that must be cleaned. Everything must be cleaned."Bedroom Scene" is the other story in the book that uses traditional paragraphs. A story about pillow talk between two people with no feelings for each other. This story could be a play with very little re-writing. Not that that's a bad thing.
"No one does anything for themselves. People do it for their parents, to make other people think they're great, to get laid or make money, but they don't do anything for themselves. I don't have anyone to impress and there's nothing I want. I don't care if I'm happy. People can go fuck themselves. And that includes you and me."
"That's a good attitude. You'll get far in life acting like total bitch."Speaking of sex, there's a lot in this book. The story "Gratutious Kink" from The Condemned is the stand out in this area. The narrator recounts his sexual encounters from losing his virginity in a church, sleeping with a shemale hooker, sucking dick in an adult theater, to pissing on his girlfriend and watching her fuck other men.
The impact of an orgasm on the human body and mind is the only experience that can remotely relieve the existence of all the bleak shittiness of human reality.Wise words. And believe me Noah Cicero is full of them. Take this aphorism from my favorite part of this book Burning Babies.
There is no reason to care what people think about you. Because seeing how this world is, it is obvious humans are not good thinkersNoah Cicero knows how to boil a sentence down to its bare essence for maximum impact. His stories are funny, cruel, insightful, and just a joy to read. I highly recommend you pick up Collected Works. It is well worth a read.
Buy The Collected Works of Noah Cicero Vol. 1 here.