Title: False Bingo: Stories
Writer: Jac Jemc
Publishing House: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Date of Publication: October 8th 2019
Rating: 5 stars
‘’I am a problem without a solution. I am a question without an answer. I am a poison without an antidote. I will never know what it is I’ve done.’’
I fell under Jac Jemc’s spell what I read The Grip of It, one of the most haunting, strangest books. Even now, its memory sends chills down my spine. What I loved so much in it was the underlying terror, the constant, unnamed threat, the darkness whose source cannot be found. Now, I don’t dare to presume things and I am not inside Jac’s mind but the same feelings kept me company while I was reading False Bingo.
20 stories of the finest kind. Stories where even swearing and innuendos have a rightful place in the narrative, reflecting reality in an environment that is mysterious, eerie. I felt that there is an ominous presence in every story and even when the closure seemed to be positive and optimistic, I had the feeling that if we search a little further, if we added a few pages more, all Hell would break loose. Jemc knows how to create the background and set the scenery to captivate the reader. The characters are women whose life reflects the demands and expectations of our modern society and the stories read like contemporary parables that mirror the issues and threats we face on a daily basis.
I won’t tire you with my musings over 20 stories but these are the ones that absolutely deserve your attention:
Delivery: A shopaholic man who keeps on purchasing things he doesn’t need. A weird, fascinating story that can be seen as a metaphor for our materialistic society, a modern plague that may make you think there is a terrible mystery within this troubled family.
Τhe Principal’s Ashes: Stories that involve teachers always attract my attention. I eagerly try to understand whether my concerns, anxieties, hopes, and fears are shared by others. Dissecting frogs, religion, the worries of a teacher and the ashes of a former principal. A wonderful educator and an ending that will make you stare with your mouth open for about five minutes…
Don’t Let’s: A woman stays in a former plantation estate. There is talk of a hag that tries to steal your breath or your skin but the warden has her own demons to fight. Deeply atmospheric and poignant.
Loser: A powerful metaphor of the scourge of the ‘’unpopular’’ student that plagues the schools in the USA through the sense of smell.
The Halifax Slasher: A town surrenders into terror and hysteria over a slasher lurking in the dark. But what separates truth and compulsive lying?
Hunt and Catch: A Tarot reader believes she’s being followed by a truck driver. I dare you to read this story and remain calm…
Under/Over: A marvelous, poignant story about the relationship between siblings, alcoholism, inspiration, and understanding.
Trivial Pursuit: A cryptic description of the stereotypes of the suburbs in a story with mysterious, threatening undertones.
Powerful, raw and mysterious are only three of the adjectives I can use to describe False Bingo. Jac Jemc’s writing is a jewel in today’s Literature.
‘’At the Board Game Couple’s apartment, they ask what you’d like to drink only after you’ve agreed on what game you’ll play.’’
Many thanks to Farrar, Straus & Giroux and NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.