“Brian Aldiss has said, ‘There are two kinds of writer: those that make you think, and those that make you wonder.’ What he didn’t say is that there is a third kind of writer: one who makes you think and wonder, and Michael C. Keith is to be found in this elite category. Well known for his macabre plots, unforgettable characters, and those literary twists none of us ever see coming, the only thing about him that’s not surprising is that he’s been praised by everyone from USA Today and Entertainment Weekly to The New York Times and The Boston Globe. Kirkus Reviews called his memoir, The Next Better Place (Algonquin, 2003), “a relentlessly gritty but good-humored tale of hope and survival,” and the Master of Short Stories himself, Ray Bradbury, hailed Keith’s Hoag’s Object as “a wonderful collection of diverse tales.
“Sad Boy, Keith’s best compilation to date, features the classic coming-of-age vignettes with all their charm and irony. But there’s something new here, something that goes deeper. Astute readers will soon realize that Keith has taken the theme of conflict and turned it inwards, where the forces of good and evil battle it out in the psyches of every imaginable character–a pilot confessing his sins to his wife as he plummets toward certain death, a resentful boy with a misshapen cranium, an old man finally confronting his homosexuality, a teenager setting a record for the most cigarettes smoked in a 36-hour period, a schoolboy witnessing racism, a tortured psychic, a miserable clown, a man seeking revenge on the bully who made his life miserable 20 years earlier–and the result is a sadly-funny exhibition of Divine tragedy; of unrelenting conscience, love, loss, and bad judgment. Sometimes there is redemption. Sometimes there isn’t. And sometimes, well–sometimes it’s left up to the reader to decide. Food for thought–and wonder!” –Robin Stratton