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Review: Short stories explore life's breakups

The book, “what if I got down on my knees,” is Rauch’s fourth compilation of short stories. The title represents his passive nature and already clues the reader into what may be, perhaps, a series of mental breakdowns and hardships.

This collection is cleverly imagined. It touches on the essence of being human creatively. It isn’t too far-fetched to say everyone can relate to at least one of his stories.

Each story represents a point in life that almost everyone can relate to — a bad date, a crazy conversation waiting for a bus, strange neighbors, a lost love and more. However, in Rauch’s version, it’s over the top in a fun, whimsical sort of way.

In a conversational approach, Rauch leads the reader through various blunders. It reads similar to a diary or as if he were talking to himself. Rauch delves into topics many may find uncomfortable. He remembers in silhouette a lover breaking up with him, finding a dead man on his couch at work, escaping the dull conundrum of everyday life.

Every account seems to take place in a different setting, never at the same time. “In The Dust” sounds as though it is set in the 1940s, running about hopping on trains to embark on the next adventure. “Lesser Gods,” the fourth short story, recounts a terribly awful date in a strange mix of time. The narrator and his date set off, hoping to eventually ride in a carriage.

None of the stories clearly define the narrator’s age either. In “My Father’s Secret,” he might be in his early teens or even younger. Later, in a different tale, he is in his own flat chatting with neighbors.

Despite all of the difficulties the narrator may endure, he still remains optimistic and even playful about some of the terrible mishaps. This stands true for most of the book, although not all of it is fun and happy.

Rauch relies not only on visual descriptions, when he gives them, but on sounds and smells. Almost everyone has a smell to them, and several of the people he encounters are “hairy.”

“what if I get down on my knees” is entirely worth reading. Each tale is gripping and intriguing, never the same story.

The book is due to be released mid-April via Amazon.

Moriah Carty is a culture editor for the Daily Lobo. She can be reached at or on Twitter @MoriahCarty.

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