Austin English brings us a hodgepodge collection of abstract art, as well as short stories to accompany it. Different scenarios are acted out by different sets of characters, yet the drawings are so abstract it is sometimes necessary for the author to provide a guide for the reader to be able to tell which character is which throughout the story.
“This place, with friends…the spice of life”
If Pablo Picasso were to have produced work at a very young age, the result would look something like Gulag Casual. With narratives and characters that don’t always make sense, it’s not hard to feel lost at the end of many of these segments. You may feel as if you have an idea as to what happened, but that idea never quite turns into a full understanding. Perhaps if the endings were to be more definitive, it would take away the mystery of it all. Whether or not the author intended there to be these mysteries or not may still be up for debate, but the effect is there regardless. English uses different materials from story to story, giving each part a different atmosphere. Of all the things you could say about this book, you will not be able to say that it is not interesting.