What He’s Poised To Do by Ben Greenman, author of Please Step Back, Correspondences, and Superbad, is a collection of original romantic tales that analyze the tenuous nature of heterosexual love.
Exploring failed marriages, infidelities, trysts, and one-time encounters, these 14 stories capture the intimate moments between lovers in contemporary Boston, 1940s Havana, seventeenth-century North Africa, and Atlanta in 2015, among other scenarios. Within each is the theme of letter-writing, a carefully used device that sometimes manifests in an epistolary form or a well-served detail between characters.
In one story, a man unhappy with his marriage and family has an affair with a woman he meets in a hotel bar. The two communicate via postcards that they leave on the bed after sexual encounters. In another, a character falls in love with a woman at first glance and writes her more than 2,000 letters, none of which he actually sends to her. An unnamed male narrator in a different story receives letters from his fiancée’s mother about current events in London; all the while, he harbors a deep infatuation with her.
The stories are delicately composed with a fluid narration that deftly slips from first person to second person, and sometimes back again. All these complex characters cross the page with a very unique and individualistic longing that seems as intrinsic to them as the story Greenman imparts. Infused with tasteful ambiguity, the stories of What He’s Poised To Do don’t conclude as much as they wane exquisitely.
This sophisticated collection offers a varied depiction of romantic relationships, with many sentiments and voices that are uniform only in their excellence. Greenman’s writing conveys a specific elegance that echoes classic literary influences while also flirting with the experimental. Nuanced, slightly mysterious, and romantic, the stories of What He’s Poised To Do present the amorous with mature restraint.
To read more about Ben Greenman, click here.