Book Review: The Inner City by Karen Heuler

© Kirbyzz | Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images

© Kirbyzz | Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images

Here is my latest review for “I Read a Book Once”:

This is the first book that I have reviewed that I couldn’t make it halfway through. Here is the synopsis:

Heuler’s stories dart out at what the world is doing and centre on how the individual copes with it. Anything is possible: people breed dogs with humans to create a servant class; beneath one great city lies another city, running it surreptitiously; an employee finds that her hair has been stolen by someone intent on getting her job; strange fish fall from trees and birds talk too much; a boy tries to figure out what he can get when the Rapture leaves good stuff behind. Everything is familiar; everything is different. Behind it all, is there some strange kind of design or merely just the chance to adapt?

In Heuler’s stories, characters cope with the strange without thinking it’s strange, sometimes invested in what’s going on, sometimes trapped by it, but always finding their own way in.

I consider myself a fan of science fiction, horror and fantasy (the fantasy not so much). But even with my open mind it was difficult to read this book.

This is a collection of short stories that seem to be about strange events, people, and animals. The first story is somewhat intriguing, about a fish that talks and grants wishes, but it just ends. I think there is some sort of allegory there, but I must have missed it.

Another of the stories I read, about a woman trying to get a job by just blending in, also seemed sort of an allegory with the main character essentially getting her brain rerouted.

The one story that I really liked, and it is described in the synopsis, is the story regarding a farm that raised a hybrid of dog and human as a servant class. It was kind of creepy reading about how they built the humans (think a pig with rows of ears on it). It was creepier reading about what the potential buyer wanted to do with his human/dog hybrid. It was amusing reading the actions of the human/dog hybrid. And again, it served as an allegory.

I really couldn’t make it much further in the book than halfway. Most of the stories did not hold my attention, they were confusing and while the reader could clearly see the allegory in some of the stories, in others there seemed to be no point at all. It was just odd stories.

I did like the way Ms. Heuler writes, and that, with the dog story is what earned this book a two star rating.


Ask a Book Nerd

© Chrisharvey | Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images

© Chrisharvey | Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images

The Eclectic Bookworm (at least the Amanda half) also writes for a site called I Read a Book Once. On this page, there are several other like minded folks who are just as nerdy as EBW.

Jonathan (the sites founder) has started a column called “Ask the Book Nerd”. He asked all of his contributors about the books that got them started in their book nerd pursuits.


Is there one specific book you read while growing up that you can point to as the reason you have become an avid reader? If yes, what was it? If no, what prompted you to become a reader?


When I was 11 or 12 I read my first book by Stephen King, and I was hooked.

I read the complete unabridged version of The Stand. I was mesmerized. The entire concept, the character development, the battle between good and evil, it all fascinated me. In the nearly 20 years since I have always been in search of books that captivate me in the same way.

I took a hiatus from my King fest after I read It, and to this day I am cautious when walking near sewers and I hate clowns.

I finally went back to King last year read 11/22/63, and followed soon with Under the Dome. He has softened around the edges a bit, but he is still my favorite author.

You can read the answers from the other Book Nerds here.

What about you, is there one book or series that you can pinpoint as your “jumping off” point in reading?

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