A new review of “The Button Bin”

/ Monday, July 25th, 2011 / No Comments »

Twitter revealed to me David Hebblethwaite’s review of Apex Magazine 23, which contains a passage about my “Button Bin”:

The first of the issue’s two reprints, Mike Allen’s “The Button Bin” (reproduced from a 2007 issue of Helix), is disquieting in both its style and content. Searching for his missing niece, Allen’s unnamed protagonist tracks down Lenahan, the owner of a craft store, who (Billy Willett tells him) took Denise. Willett was Denise’s boyfriend, who lost his eyes and legs after what the authorities believe to have been a hit-and-run, the same incident in which Denise disappeared. But Willett tells Denise’s uncle something different—about how Lenahan “put us both deep under but he only kept what he wanted from me. Denise, he kept all of her.”  The narrator confronts Lenahan at his shop, and discovers the man’s strange container of buttons, which are far more than they seem. Allen’s second-person narration brings us uncomfortably close to his protagonist, which works to great effect with the imagery of what happens in the story’s closing stages, and also in the shocking way the piece turns on its narrator to reveal that he’s not the man we had been led to believe.

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