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It Came with the House (Kobo eBook)
In his second book of humorous tales, Jeffrey Shaffer takes the reader inside a boot camp for laundromat offenders, a right-wing private school, and a cold-cream testing site. He listens in on conversations with an alien, with a general in the midst of a national crisis and, most frightening of all, with an unborn daughter. He considers the what-ifs of catastrophes like an asteroid striking the earth, the collapse of the dollar, and the destruction of television. And he introduces such characters as insurance adjusters who follow the destructive path of Godzilla, an "orthopractor" whose manipulations out-manipulate Hollywood, and a guy who's been frozen for years in Alaska.
But these thumbnail descriptions hardly give a clue as to where Shaffer goes with his situations and characters. He is, above all, unpredictable. His humor is based primarily on surprise and a rich imagination, not repetition or overstatement, and his wildly imaginative stories are told in calm prose, with twists and turns and a touch of pathos. They approach reality from a variety of angles, so that the oddest people and situations seem just the way things are, or will be.
"In these spare, understated tales, you wander heedlessly back and forth across the boundary between reality and fantasy. Before you know it, life is bizarre. And before you know it, you're laughing at the excesses of civilization, and at yourself."
—Faris Cassell, Eugene Register-Guard
"Jeffrey Shaffer is — not to put too fine a point on it — hilarious. Well, he is hilarious if your sense of humor has a slight warp — or perhaps even a large woof — to it. ... keen-edged and pointed rapiers, slicing and skewering sacred cows and modern sensibilities alike."
—Steve Perry, Portland Oregonian
"These stories are strange; some of them are laugh-out-loud funny — if the reader is the type who 'gets' Far Side cartoons. ... [Shaffer] makes writing stories like this look easy—an incredibly difficult task."
Part rigorous social satire, part the fantastical ravings of a giddy and often paranoid mind, Shaffer's second collection of stories is spun from the same winningly ironic mettle of his popular first book, "I'm Right Here, Fish-Cake."