In his brilliant debut of short stories, Jim Gavin manages to humorously cover a cross-section of sad men – of all ages – going mindlessly through the motions of life, some with hope, many without. The collection would be sad if not for Gavin’s knack for pointing out the humor in the mundane.
The characters in the six (and a half) stories in Middle Men, cover everyone from an ambitious stand-up comic (“Elephant Doors”), a depressive college dropout (“Bewildered Decisions in Times of Mercantile Terror”) to a second generation toilet salesmen (“Middle Men: The Luau”) each with their own set of often self-inflicted problems managing to make it to another to the next. What’s truly remarkable for this assortment of short stories is that any single one of these characters would make a compelling novel on their own.
The only sense of dread you really get in this collection is in the last few pages when you suddenly realize the book is ending and as a first-time writer, there is not a cannon of other Gavin books waiting for you to devour.
Simon & Schuster