Hrbek's short stories are strange, whimsical and rather bizarre at times, but still very human and rather poignant in their composition. Event the most fantastical of stories - one about a centaur child, another about a man who begins a love affair with... a mermaid - are so rooted in urban dischord and the complexities of human relationships that plausibility never becomes are concern. His war stories, mostly about Japan - Hiroshima and Saipan - bring alive the horrors of war and cultural divides through simple, yet very intricate prose. And in the end, it is his prose that keeps these stories afloat, and the beautiful, evocative imagery that Hrbek uses, so that even when the story falters, as in the case of a story of a 12 year old prisoner on Death Row, the prose still keeps the story alive. A short, interesting read from a talented writer.
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