Jon Paul Fiorentino’s new collection of stories has set the public to wheezing, with its satirical portrait of creativity and lust gasping for air on the “hypersuburban” prairie (and within the CanLiterrarium established upon the very same barren ground)–but if these were in fact Asthmatica‘s only virtues, you wouldn’t be reading about it here. It’s not that I hold the book’s supposed targets sacred, you understand–it’s just that I believe that they would take care of themselves (preferably in a violent manner) if left to their own devices. And that is precisely what the author has done.This is no case study of a sickly, confused boy in a specific time and place. In Asthmatica, puberty, like some diseased hormone supernova, obliterates or transmogrifies all semblance of a context. The book’s protagonist/narrator is the purest teenager since Andy Hardy–completely subservient to bodily imperatives; and, unlike his agitated predecessor, Jonny’s condition is uncut by a single tonic drop of healthful equilibrium or father-son camaraderie (although I suppose it could be argued that certain moments in “Strapping Young Lads” might fall under the latter heading). Fiorentino appears to be saying that those of us who weren’t overweight-asthmatic-diabetic-epileptics never experienced puberty at all–not, at any rate, the glorious Paul Ankafied, seizuroscopic strain of the syndrome that comes instead of an epiphany midway through these delirious proceedings.

Good Night Friends!

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