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Male Tears Reviews

Male Tears by Benjamin Myers

Male Tears

Benjamin Myers

Score pending

2 reviews

Imprint: Bloomsbury Circus
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Publication date: 29 Apr 2021
ISBN: 9781526611352

Male Tears, a debut collection of stories that brings together over fifteen years of work, Benjamin Myers lays bare the male psyche in all its fragility, complexity and failure, its hubris and forbidden tenderness.

4 stars out of 5
Houman Barekat
1 May 2021

"the emphasis here is on atmospherics"

Male Tears has been marketed by its publisher as an exploration of the male psyche – the title nods to a popular feminist meme – but this is somewhat misleading. While many of these stories do indeed involve men in upsetting circumstances, they contain little in the way of subtle emotional or psychological insight. In keeping with the conventions of rural noir and folk horror, the emphasis here is on atmospherics: for the most part, Myers is less interested in depicting his characters’ inner lives than in evoking the eerie menace of moorlands and forests, be that “the gloaming of an October evening” or a whistling wind, “hypnotic and malevolent, as if the stones themselves were groaning with pain”.

Reviews

4 stars out of 5
12 Apr 2021

"Benjamin Myers’s multifaceted short stories grapple with the nature of masculinity"

While horror is ever ready to intrude, Male Tears is varied in style. Many stories, such as a father’s three-paragraph reflection on ageing, last barely a page, but there’s also a digressively autofictional piece about having a panic attack at a Brueghel exhibition in Vienna. If many are straightforwardly conversational (such as Suburban Animals, whose narrator remembers a childhood friend with Down’s syndrome, targeted by the school bully), others only hint at what’s going on. There are open endings but also gotchas, as with the story about a labourer who, blessed with “the strength and stamina of 10 men”, fascinates his boss’s young nephew, who pictures what the man’s girlfriend must be like after spotting a dress hung up in his caravan.