I read Christopher Records’ collection a year ago, and I was blown away by his delicate, thoughtful linked short stories. The focus of the collection is on people interacting in Southern California’s Inland Empire in a slightly speculative future world. Here the young and old, queer and straight, cis gendered and nonbinary end up moving — mostly — into the same vaguely named long-term facility.
The premise sounds dystopian and it kind of is, but the word “dystopian” doesn’t do justice to the subtlety and beauty of Records’ writing. In Care Stories, love and desire are always options, and the ability of the characters to seek each other out and to connect is astonishing and both uplifting and disquieting. Records really unpacks the complexity of human interaction, at the same time as he devastatingly outlines individual experiences of late capitalism and engages in a convincing political critique of the enormous difference between the 1% and everyone else.
I think this book is rewarding and thought-provoking, and I find myself thinking about it often; the images and feelings are unforgettable and unique. The book came out just as COVID was beginning and didn’t really get the attention it deserved.
Please check out Care Stories.
Read some of Christopher Records’s writing in the Rumpus here.
Happy Pride Month!