This debut collection seeks solace in queer lives and landscapes, offering fables of loneliness, love and liminality that delight in disgust, discover joy in daily junk and create wild unexpected treasures from the most unusual of leftovers.
Have you ever read a short story that could be a book? The hook in the first line is compelling, immediately drawing you in. The characters are fleshed out and well-written within their limited storylines. The plot is unexpected and keeps you guessing, unsure how it could wrap up in the few remaining pages. It’s so finely done that it could go on for a couple hundred more pages, and you would still be satisfied. That is how every story left me in Ryan Vance’s debut collection ... Each story provides a gripping, disconcerting narrative ... unsettling and incredibly queer. Vance has the ability to write about the 'odd' in a manner that is simultaneously unnerving, mystifying, and immersive ... you cannot help but become immersed in the outlandish domain the author has created ... If you are a fan of the weird fiction genre (think Octavia Butler, Neil Gaiman, or Stephen King), One Man’s Trash is for you ... Do not let these peculiar plots scare you away. Underneath the uncanny, Vance’s true understanding of humanity is revealed, through strange situations that ultimately make each story within One Man’s Trash addicting and compelling.
One Man’s Trash is a welcome addition to the genre ... The stories are an attack on the senses, and it is almost overwhelming at times. Sights, sounds, smells, touch, and particularly taste are all stimulated as you read, with the writing describing in detail what the characters are experiencing far more than what they are thinking ... But these stories are not sensational for the sake of it. Ryan Vance is using the details and the devils in his writing to comment on modern living, especially concerning relationships and other distinctly human connections. It’s not simply the stories themselves, but they way they are told and unfold ... a collection of stories that are thoroughly modern while remaining strangely familiar.
Each story is populated with well-drawn LGBTQ characters whose queerness is often refreshingly incidental ... Weaker stories...suffer for being too detached, focusing on ambitious concepts at the expense of character. But the strengths make up for the weaknesses, and Vance’s fantasy elements are all the more enchanting for being so close to reality. The mix of magic and the everyday will linger with readers long after the book is shut.